Philippines and Manila

Philippines and Manila

The Philippines officially known as the Republic of the Philippines, is a sovereign island country in Southeast Asia situated in the western Pacific Ocean.

To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan; west across the South China Sea sits Vietnam; southwest is the island of Borneo across the Sulu Sea, and to the south the Celebes Sea separates it from other islands of Indonesia; Sony SVS13AA11L Battery

while to the east it is bounded by the Philippine Sea. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but also endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world’s greatest biodiversity. Sony SVS131A11L Battery
At 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi), the Philippines is the 73rd-largest country in the world,[12] consisting of an archipelago of 7,107 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions: Sony SVS131B11L Battery

Sony PCG-41414L BatteryLuzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its capital city is Manila while its most populous city is Quezon City.

With a population of more than 98 million people,[13] the Philippines is the seventh-most populated country in Asia and the 12th most populated country in the world. An additional 12 million Filipinos live overseas,
Sony PCG-41413L Batterycomprising one of the world’s largest and most influential diasporas.[14] Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago’s earliest inhabitants. Sony SVS151A11L Battery

Sony PCG-41412L BatteryThey were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples who brought with them influences from Malay, Hindu, and Islamic societies. Various nations were established under the rule of Datus, Rajahs, Sony SVS151B11L Battery

Sony PCG-41411L BatterySultans or Lakans. Trade with China also introduced Chinese culture and settlement, which remain present to this day. Sony SVS151G1GL Battery

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The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 marked the beginning of an era of Spanish interest and eventual colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. Sony PCG-4121DL Battery

Sony PCG-41217L BatteryThe Spanish Empire began to settle with the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi from New Spain (present day-Mexico) in 1565 who established the first Spanish settlement in the archipelago, which remained a Spanish colony for more than 300 years.
Sony PCG-41216L Battery During this time, Manila became the Asian hub of the Manila–Acapulco galleon fleet.

As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, there followed in quick succession the Philippine Revolution, which spawned the short-lived First Philippine Republic; the Spanish–American War; and the Philippine–American War. Sony PCG-4121EL Battery
In the aftermath, the United States emerged as the dominant power; aside from the period of Japanese occupation, the United States retained sovereignty over the islands. After World War II,[15
Sony PCG-41215L Battery] the Treaty of Manila established the Philippine Republic as an independent nation.[16] Since then, the Philippines has had an often tumultuous experience with democracy, with popular “people power” movements overthrowing a dictatorship in one instance, Sony PCG-4121FL Battery
but also underlining the institutional weaknesses of its constitutional republic in others. The nation’s large size and economic potential have led it to be classified as a middle power.[17]

The name Philippines is named in honor of King Philip II of Spain. Sony PCG-4121GL Battery

Sony PCG-41214L BatterySpanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos during his expedition in 1542 named the islands of Leyte and Samar Felipinas after the then Prince of Asturias. Eventually the name Las Islas Filipinas would be used to cover all the islands of the archipelago. Before that became commonplace, Sony PCG-41213L Battery other names such as Islas del Poniente (Islands of the West) and Magellan’s name for the islands San Lázaro were also used by the Spanish to refer to the islands. Sony PCG-41211L Battery
The official name of the Philippines has changed several times in the course of the country’s history. During the Philippine Revolution, the Malolos Congress proclaimed the establishment of the República Filipina or the Philippine Republic. Sony PCG-41212L Battery
From the period of the Spanish–American War (1898) and the Philippine–American War (1899–1902) until the Commonwealth period (1935–46), American colonial authorities referred to the country as the Philippine Islands, sony PCG-4R2L battery

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sony PCG-6124L battery a translation of the Spanish name. During the American period,[clarification needed When?] the name Philippines began to appear and it has since become the country’s common name.[23] Since independence, the official name of the country has been the Republic of the Philippines. sony PCG-4Q4L battery

A Tagalog couple of the Maginoo caste depicted on a page of the 16th century Boxer Codex.

The metatarsal of Callao Man is reported to have been reliably dated by uranium-series dating to 67,000 years ago[24sony PCG-4Q3L battery

] thereby replacing the Tabon Man of Palawan, carbon-dated to around 24,000 years ago,[25][26] as the oldest human remains found in the archipelago. Negritos were among the archipelago’s earliest inhabitants, sony PCG-4Q1L battery

 

sony PCG-6123L batterybut their appearance in the Philippines has not been reliably dated.[27] There are several opposing theories regarding the origins of ancient Filipinos. F. Landa Jocano theorizes that the ancestors of the Filipinos evolved locally. sony PCG-6X1L battery

 

sony PCG-6122L battery Wilhelm Solheim’s Island Origin Theory[28] postulates that the peopling of the archipelago transpired via trade networks originating in the antediluvian Sundaland area around 48000 to 5000 BCE rather than by wide-scale migration. sony PCG-6X2L battery

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sony PCG-6121L battery The Austronesian Expansion Theory states that Malayo-Polynesians coming from Taiwan began migrating to the Philippines around 4000 BCE, displacing earlier arrivals.[29][30] Whatever the case, sony PCG-6X7L battery

by 1000 BCE the inhabitants of the archipelago had developed into four kinds of social groups: hunter-gathering tribes, warrior societies, highland plutocracies, and maritime-centered harbor principalities.[31] sony PCG-6X8L battery

 

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Tantric Period

The 1st millennium saw the rise of the harbor principalities and their growth into Maritime states composed of autonomous barangays independent of, or allied with, larger nations which were either Malay thalassocracies led by Datus or Indianized Kingdoms led by Rajahs. The chief among which were the Rajahnate of Butuan, sony PCG-6XAL battery

 

sony PCG-6Z3L batterywhich attained prominence under the rule of Rajah Sri Bata Shaja,[32] the Kingdom of Tondo, ruled over by the Lakandula dynasty[33][34] and the Rajahnate of Cebu[35] which was led by Rajamuda Sri Lumay. sony PCG-6XBL battery

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sony PCG-6Z2L battery Other nations in this era include the State of Ma-i and the Confederation of Madja-as. Sulu, before its Islamization was also an Indianized Kingdom under its first ruler, Rajah Sipad the Older.[36] The great epics; the Hinilawod, Darangan, Biag Ni Lam-Ang and etc. trace their origins to this era.[37] Sony SVS13AB1GL Battery

Islamic Period

The 1300s heralded the arrival and eventual spread of the Islamic religion in the Philippine archipelago. In 1380, Karim ul’ Makdum and Shari’ful Hashem Syed Abu Bakr, an Arab trader born in Johore, arrived in Sulu from Malacca and established the Sultanate of Sulu by converting Sulu’s Rajah and marrying his daughter.[38] Sony SVS131C1DL Battery

Sony PCG-61913L Battery [39] Also, at the end of the 15th century, Shariff Mohammed Kabungsuwan of Johor introduced Islam in the island of Mindanao and he subsequently married Paramisuli, an Iranun Princess from Mindanao, Sony SVS131C24L Battery

Sony PCG-61911L Batteryand established the Sultanate of Maguindanao. The sultanate system even extended itself further and the Confederation of sultanates in Lanao was a logical extension of this.[40] Eventually, Sony SVS131E1DL Battery
Islam had begun to spread out from the southern Philippines into the north. Even Manila itself was nominally islamized since the reign of Sultan Bolkiah in 1485 to 1521, wherein, the Sultanate of Brunei subjugated Tondo by installing the Muslim, Rajah Suleiman to the throne. Sony SVS131G1DL Battery

The rivalries between the disparate Datus, Rajahs, Sultans and Lakans together with their respective states competing over the limited territory and people of the islands eventually simplified Spanish colonization by allowing its conquistadors to effectively employ a strategy of divide and conquer for rapid conquest.[45] Sony SVS151C1GL Battery

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Colonial Period

Fort Santiago in Manila, built by Miguel López de Legazpi in 1590

José Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, and Mariano Ponce: leaders of the Propaganda Movement

In 1521,
Sony PCG-61714L BatteryPortuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Philippines and claimed the islands for Spain.[46Sony SVS151C2DL Battery

Sony PCG-71C12L Battery] Colonization began when Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi arrived from Mexico in 1565 and formed the first European settlements in Cebu. In 1571, after dealing with the local royal families in the wake of the Tondo Conspiracy and defeating the Chinese pirate warlord Limahong,
Sony PCG-71C11L Batterythe Spanish established Manila as the capital of the Spanish East Indies.[47][48]

Spanish rule contributed significantly to bringing political unity to the archipelago. From 1565 to 1821, the Philippines was governed as a territory of the Viceroyalty of New Spain and then was administered directly from Madrid after the Mexican War of Independence. Sony SVS151E1GL Battery
The Manila galleons and its large naval fleet linking Manila to Acapulco traveled once or twice a year between the 16th and 19th centuries. Sony PCG-61A11L Battery
Trade introduced foods such as corn, tomatoes, potatoes, chili peppers, and pineapples from the Americas.[48] Roman Catholic missionaries converted most of the lowland inhabitants to Christianity and founded schools, Sony PCG-61A13L Battery
Sony PCG-61A14L Batterya university, and hospitals. While a Spanish decree introduced free public schooling in 1863, efforts in mass public education mainly came to fruition during the American period.[49]

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Sony PCG-71315L BatterySpanish galleon bombarding the Muslim pirates of the southern Philippines in 1848

During its rule, the Spanish fought off various indigenous revolts and several external colonial challenges from Chinese pirates, the Dutch, and the Portuguese. In an extension of the fighting of the Seven Years’ War, British forces occupied Manila from 1762 to 1764. Sony PCG-71713L Battery

Sony PCG-71313L Battery They found local allies like Diego and Gabriela Silang who took the opportunity to lead a revolt, but Spanish rule was eventually restored following the 1763 Treaty of Paris.[45][50][51] Sony PCG-71811L Battery

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In the 19th century, Philippine ports opened to world trade and shifts started occurring within Philippine society. Many Spaniards born in the Philippines (criollos) and those of mixed ancestry (mestizos) became wealthy. The influx of Spanish and Latino settlers secularized churches and opened up government positions traditionally held by Spaniards born in the Iberian Peninsula (peninsulares). Sony PCG-71911L Battery
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Sony PCG-71218L Battery The ideals of revolution also began to spread through the islands. Criollo dissatisfaction resulted in the revolt in Cavite El Viejo in 1872 that was a precursor to the Philippine Revolution. Sony PCG-71913L Battery

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Revolutionary sentiments were stoked in 1872 after three priests — Mariano Gómez, José Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora (collectively known as Gomburza) — were accused of sedition by colonial authorities and executed.[52Sony PCG-71914L Battery

Sony PCG-71312L Battery][53] This would inspire a propaganda movement in Spain, organized by Marcelo H. del Pilar, José Rizal, and Mariano Ponce, lobbying for political reforms in the Philippines. Rizal was eventually executed on December 30, Sony PCG-91211L Battery

Sony PCG-91112L Battery1896, on charges of rebellion.[56] As attempts at reform met with resistance, Andrés Bonifacio in 1892 established the secret society called the Katipunan, a society along the lines of the freemasons, Sony PCG-91311L Battery
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which sought independence from Spain through armed revolt.[54] Bonifacio and the Katipunan started the Philippine Revolution in 1896. A faction of the Katipunan, the Magdalo of Cavite province, eventually came to challenge Bonifacio’s position as the leader of the revolution and Emilio Aguinaldo took over. Sony SVE141D11L Battery

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American Occupational Period

In 1898, the Spanish-American War began in Cuba and reached the Philippines. Aguinaldo declared Philippine independence from Spain in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898, and the insurgent First Philippine Republic was established Sony SVE141L11L Battery

Sony PCG-61713L Battery the following year. Meanwhile, the islands were ceded by Spain to the United States for 20 million US dollars in the 1898 Treaty of Paris.[57] As it became increasingly clear the United States Sony SVE151E11L Battery

Sony SVE171G112 Battery would not recognize the First Philippine Republic, the Philippine–American War broke out. The Americans then destroyed the first Philippine Republic, nevertheless, it was survived by three cantonal republics: Sony SVE151G11L Battery

Sony SVE171E12L BatteryThe Republic of Zamboanga, The Republic of Negros and The Tagalog Republic. Yet, these too were crushed and total American control was expanded over the entirety of the archipelago which was administered as an insular area.[58] Sony SVE151G13L Battery
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In 1935, the Philippines was granted Commonwealth status. Plans for independence over the next decade were interrupted by World War II when the Japanese Empire invaded and established a puppet government. Sony SVE171C11L Battery
Sony SVE171E11L BatteryMany atrocities and war crimes were committed during the war such as the Bataan Death March and the Manila massacre that culminated during the Battle of Manila.[59] Allied troops defeated the Japanese in 1945. By the end of the war it is estimated over a million Filipinos had died.[60] Sony PCG-71316L Battery
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Independence

 

 

Lowering of the American flag on July 4, 1946

On July 4, 1946, the Philippines attained its independence.[5] Immediately after World War II, the Philippines faced a number of challenges. Sony PCG-71318L Battery
The country had to be rebuilt from the ravages of war. It also had to come to terms with Japanese collaborators. Sony PCG-71211L Battery
Meanwhile, disgruntled remnants of the Hukbalahap communist rebel army that had previously fought against and resisted the Japanese continued to roam the rural regions. This threat to the government was dealt with by Secretary of National Defense and later President Ramon Magsaysay, Sony PCG-71212L Battery

Sony PCG-61316L Batterybut sporadic cases of communist insurgency continued to flare up long afterward.[61][62] In 1965, Ferdinand Marcos was elected president. Nearing the end of his second term and constitutionally barred from seeking a third, he declared martial law on September 21, 1972. Sony PCG-71215L Battery

Sony PCG-61315L Battery By using political divisions, the tension of the Cold War, and the specter of communist rebellion and Islamic insurgency as justifications, he governed by decree.[63] Sony PCG-71216L Battery
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On August 21, 1983, Marcos’ chief rival opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. ignored warnings and returned from exile in the United States. He was assassinated as he was taken off the plane at the Manila International Airport

Sony PCG-61311L Battery (now called the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in his memory). With political pressure building, Marcos eventually called for snap presidential elections in 1986.[61] Corazon Aquino, Benigno’s widow, Sony PCG-61211L Battery
Sony PCG-61215L Batterywas persuaded to become the presidential candidate and standard bearer of the opposition. The elections were widely considered rigged when Marcos was proclaimed the winner. This led to the People Power Revolution, Sony PCG-3B1L Battery

instigated when two long-time Marcos allies – Armed Forces of the Philippines Vice Chief-of-Staff Fidel V. Ramos and Secretary of National Defense Juan Ponce Enrile –Sony PCG-3B2L Battery
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Sony PCG-3H4L Battery  resigned and barricaded themselves in Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame. Exhorted by the Cardinal Archbishop of Manila Jaime Sin, people gathered in support of the rebel leaders and protested on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). In the face of mass protests and military defections, Sony PCG-3B4L Battery

Sony PCG-3H3L Battery Marcos and his allies fled to Hawaii and into exile. Corazon Aquino was recognized as president.[62][64] Sony PCG-3C2L Battery

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The return of democracy and government reforms after the events of 1986 were hampered by national debt, government corruption, coup attempts, a persistent communist insurgency, and military conflict with Islamic separatists. Sony PCG-3C3L Battery
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Sony PCG-3H1L Battery The economy improved during the administration of Fidel V. Ramos, who was elected president in 1992.[65] However, the economic improvements were negated with the onset of the East Asian financial crisis in 1997. Sony PCG-3D4L Battery

Sony PCG-3G5L Battery In 2001, amid charges of corruption and a stalled impeachment process, Ramos’ successor Joseph Estrada was ousted from the presidency by the 2001 EDSA Revolution and replaced by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Sony PCG-3E3L Battery

Sony PCG-3G3L Battery Her administration that lasted 9 years was tied with graft and corruption and numerous political scandals.[66][67][68] As a result of the May 2010 elections, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was elected president. Sony PCG-3F1L Battery
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Politics and government

 

 

 

Benigno S. Aquino III, the current and 15th president of the Republic of the Philippines

Main articles: Politics of the Philippines, President of the Philippines, and Constitution of the Philippines Sony PCG-3F3L Battery
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The Philippines has a democratic government.[69] It is a constitutional republic with a presidential system. It is governed as a unitary state with the exception of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which is largely free from the national government. There have been attempts to change the government to a federal, unicameral, or parliamentary government since the Ramos administration.[70][71] Sony PCG-9Z1L Battery

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The President functions as both head of state and head of government and is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president is elected by popular vote for a single six-year term, during which he or she appoints and presides over the cabinet. Sony PCG-9Z2L Battery
[3] The bicameral Congress is composed of the Senate, serving as the upper house, with members elected to a six-year term, and the House of Representatives, serving as the lower house,
Sony PCG-8141L Batterywith members elected to a three-year term. The senators are elected at large while the representatives are elected from both legislative districts and through sectoral representation.[ Sony PCG-7142L Battery
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3] The judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court, composed of a Chief Justice as its presiding officer and fourteen associate justices, all of whom are appointed by the President from nominations submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council.[3]

Security and defense
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BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15), a Hamilton-class cutter of the Philippine Navy

Main articles: Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police

Philippine defense is handled by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and is composed of three branches:
Sony PCG-7185L Batterythe Air Force, the Army, and the Navy (including the Marine Corps). Civilian security is handled by Philippine National Police under the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). Sony PCG-7152L Battery

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In the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the largest separatist organization, the Moro National Liberation Front, is now engaging the government politically. Other more militant groups like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Sony PCG-7153L Battery

Sony PCG-7183L Batterythe communist New People’s Army, and the Abu Sayyaf still roam the provinces, but their presence has decreased in recent years due to successful security provided by the Philippine government.[72][73] Sony PCG-7154L Battery

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The Philippines has been an ally of the United States since World War II. A mutual defense treaty between the two countries was signed in 1951. The Philippines supported American policies during the Cold War and participated in the Korean and Vietnam wars. It was a member of the now dissolved SEATO,
Sony PCG-7181L Batterya group that was intended to serve a role similar to NATO and that included Australia, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[74] After the start of the War on Terror, the Philippines was part of the coalition that gave support to the United States in Iraq.[75] Sony PCG-7161L Battery
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Sony PCG-7174L BatteryThe United States designated the country a major non-NATO ally. The Philippines is currently working to end its domestic insurgency with help from the United States.

International relations

Main article: Foreign relations of the Philippines
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The Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., United States.

The Philippines’ international relations are based on trade with other nations and the well-being of the 11 million overseas Filipinos living outside the country.[76] As a founding and active member of the United Nations, Sony PCG-7171L Battery
Sony PCG-7172L Battery the Philippines has been elected several times into the Security Council. Carlos P. Romulo was a former President of the United Nations General Assembly. The country is an active participant in the Human Rights Council as well as in peacekeeping missions, particularly in East Timor. Sony PCG-21313L Battery
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In addition to membership in the United Nations, the country is also a founding and active member of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), an organization designed to strengthen relations and promote economic and cultural growth among states in the Southeast Asian region.[8Sony PCG-41112L Battery
1] It has hosted several summits and is an active contributor to the direction and policies of the bloc.[82] The relations it currently enjoys with other Southeast Asian states are in contrast to its relations with them before the 1970s when it was one of the allies of the US Forces against, Sony PCG-51111L Battery
with then the North Vietnam and was heavily disputing Sabah with Malaysia; although, disagreements continue to exist due to the Spratly Islands.[83]

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Sony PCG-81411L BatteryMembers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The Philippines values its relations with the United States.[76] It supported the United States during the Cold War and the War on Terror and is a major non-NATO ally. Sony PCG-51211L Battery
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Sony PCG-81314L Battery Despite this history of goodwill, controversies related to the presence of the now former U.S. military bases in Subic Bay and Clark and the current Visiting Forces Agreement have flared up from time to time.[7Sony PCG-51312L Battery

Sony PCG-81313L Battery6] Japan, the biggest contributor of official development assistance to the country,[84] is thought of as a friend. Although historical tensions still exist on issues such as the plight of comfort women, much of the animosity inspired by memories of World War II have faded.[85] Sony PCG-51411L Battery

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Relations with other nations are generally positive. Shared democratic values ease relations with Western and European countries while similar economic concerns help in relations with other developing countries. Historical ties and cultural similarities also serve as a bridge in relations with Spain and Latin America. Sony PCG-51412L Battery

Sony PCG-81311L BatteryDespite issues such as domestic abuse and war affecting overseas Filipino workers and obstacles posed by Islamic insurgency in Mindanao, relations with Middle Eastern countries (including Egypt, Iran, Sony PCG-51511L Battery

Sony PCG-81214L Battery Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) are friendly as seen in the continuous employment of more than two million overseas Filipinos living there.

With communism no longer the threat it once was, once hostile relations in the 1950s between the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China have improved greatly. Sony PCG-51513L Battery

Sony PCG-81114L Battery Issues involving Taiwan, the Spratly Islands, and concerns of expanding Chinese influence, however, still encourage a degree of carefulness.[85] Recent foreign policy has been mostly about economic relations with its Southeast Asian and Asia-Pacific neighbors.[76] Sony PCG-61412L Battery

The Philippines is an active member of the East Asia Summit (EAS), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Latin Union, Sony PCG-71111L Battery

Sony PCG-81113L Battery the Group of 24, and the Non-Aligned Movement.[3] It is also seeking to strengthen relations with Islamic countries by campaigning for observer status in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.[86][87] Sony PCG-81111L Battery
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Administrative divisions

Main article: Administrative divisions of the Philippines

The Philippines is divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. As of March 2010, these were divided into 17 regions, 80 provinces, 138 cities, 1,496 municipalities, and 42,025 barangays.[88Sony VPCF115FM battery

Sony VPCF119HX battery] In addition, Section 2 of Republic Act No. 5446 asserts that the definition of the territorial sea around the Philippine archipelago does not affect the claim over Sabah.[89]

A clickable map of the Philippines exhibiting its 17 regions and 80 provinces. Sony VPCF11JFX battery
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A clickable map of the Philippines exhibiting its 17 regions and 80 provinces.

About this image

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands[3] with a total land area, including inland bodies of water, of approximately 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi). Its 36,289 kilometers (22,549 mi) of coastline makes it the country with the 5th longest coastline in the world.[3][92] It is located between 116° 40′, and 126° 34′ E. Sony VPCF11FGX battery
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longitude and 4° 40′ and 21° 10′ N. latitude and is bordered by the Philippine Sea to the east, the South China Sea to the west, and the Celebes Sea to the south. Sony VPCF11LFX battery

Sony VPCF11PFX batteryThe island of Borneo is located a few hundred kilometers southwest and Taiwan is located directly to the north. The Moluccas and Sulawesi are located to the south-southwest and Palau is located to the east of the islands.[3] Sony VPCF11DGX battery
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Most of the mountainous islands are covered in tropical rainforest and volcanic in origin. The highest mountain is Mount Apo. It measures up to 2,954 meters (9,692 ft) above sea level and is located on the island of Mindanao.

Sony VPCF11BFX battery The Galathea Depth in the Philippine Trench is the deepest point in the country and the third deepest in the world. The trench is located in the Philippine Sea. The longest river is the Cagayan River in northern Luzon. Manila Bay, upon the shore of which the capital city of Manila lies, Sony VPCF112FX battery

Sony VPCF11AFX batteryis connected to Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the Philippines, by the Pasig River. Subic Bay, the Davao Gulf, and the Moro Gulf are other important bays. The San Juanico Strait separates the islands of Samar and Leyte but it is traversed by the San Juanico Bridge.[93]

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Sony VPCF1190X batteryIfugao/Igorot utilized terrace farming to grow crops in the steep mountainous regions of northern Philippines.

Situated on the western fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity. The Benham Plateau to the east in the Philippine Sea is an undersea region active in tectonic subduction.[ Sony VPCF11CGX battery

Sony VPCF119GX battery94] Around 20 earthquakes are registered daily, though most are too weak to be felt. The last major earthquake was the 1990 Luzon earthquake.[95] There are many active volcanoes such as the Mayon Volcano, Mount Pinatubo, Sony VPCF116FX battery

Sony VPCF11NFX batteryand Taal Volcano. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in June 1991 produced the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century.[96Sony VPCF111FX battery
Sony VPCF11GGX battery] Not all notable geographic features are so violent or destructive. A more serene legacy of the geological disturbances is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, the area represents a habitat for biodiversity conservation, the site also contains a full mountain-to-the-sea ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia.[ sony VPCEB3AFM battery

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sony VPCEB15FM battery97] The white sand beaches that make Boracay a popular vacation getaway are made of coral remnants.

Due to the volcanic nature of the islands, mineral deposits are abundant. The country is estimated to have the second-largest gold deposits after South Africa and one of the largest copper deposits in the world.[9sony VPCEA24FM battery

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8] It is also rich in nickel, chromite, and zinc. Despite this, poor management, high population density, and environmental consciousness have resulted in these mineral resources remaining largely untapped.[98sony VPCEA36FM battery

 

sony VPCEB17FX battery] Geothermal energy, however, is another product of volcanic activity that the country has harnessed more successfully. The Philippines is the world’s second-biggest geothermal producer behind the United States, with 18% of the country’s electricity needs being met by geothermal power.[99] sony VPCEB33FMbattery

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Flora and fauna

Main article: Wildlife of the Philippines

See also: List of threatened species of the Philippines

The Philippines’ rainforests and its extensive coastlines make it home to a diverse range of birds, plants, animals, and sea creatures.[10sony VPCEB11FM battery

 

sony VPCEB15FX battery0] It is one of the ten most biologically megadiverse countries and is at or near the top in terms of biodiversity per unit area.[101][102][ sony VPCEB23FM battery

103] Around 1,100 land vertebrate species can be found in the Philippines including over 100 mammal species and 170 bird species not thought to exist elsewhere.[ sony VPCEH14FM battery

 

sony VPCEB12FX battery104] Endemic species include the tamaraw of Mindoro, the Visayan spotted deer, the Philippine mouse deer, the Visayan warty pig, the Philippine flying lemur, and several species of bats.[

 

sony VPCEB11GX battery105] The Philippines has among the highest rates of discovery in the world with sixteen new species of mammals discovered in the last ten years. Because of this, the rate of endemism for the Philippines has risen and likely will continue to rise.[106] sony VPCEH25FM battery

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Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), one of the smallest primates.

The Philippines lacks large predators, with the exception of snakes, such as pythons and cobras, saltwater crocodiles and birds of prey, such as the national bird, known as the Philippine Eagle, which scientists suggest as the largest eagle in the world.[107] sony VPCEH35FM battery

 

sony VPCEB13FX battery [108] The largest crocodile in captivity was captured in the southern island of Mindanao.[109] Other native animals include the palm civet cat, the dugong, and the Philippine tarsier associated with Bohol. With an estimated 13,500 plant species in the country, 3,200 of which are unique to the islands,[10sony VPCEB11FX battery

sony VPCEB14FX battery4] Philippine rainforests boast an array of flora, including many rare types of orchids and rafflesia.[110][111] The narra is considered as the most important type of hardwood.

Philippine maritime waters encompass as much as 2,200,000 square kilometers (849,425 sq mi) producing unique and diverse marine life and are an important part of the Coral Triangle.[8sony VPCEH12FX battery

 

sony VPCEH11FX battery9] The total number of corals and marine fish species was estimated at 500 and 2,400 respectively.[100][104] However, new records [112][113] and species discoveries[114][ sony VPCEH13FX battery

 

sony VPCEH390X battery115] continuously increase these numbers underlining the uniqueness of the marine resources in the Philippines. The Apo Reef is the country’s largest contiguous coral reef system and the second-largest in the world.[1sony VPCEH15FX battery

 

sony VPCEH37FX battery16] The Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea was declared a World Heritage Site in 1993. Philippine waters also sustain the cultivation of pearls, crabs, and seaweeds.[100][117]

 

Deforestation, often the result of illegal logging, is an acute problem in the Philippines. Forest cover declined from 70% of the country’s total land area in 1900 to about 18.3% in 1999.[118sony VPCEH16FX battery

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sony VPCEH36FX battery][119] Many species are endangered and scientists say that Southeast Asia, which the Philippines is part of, faces a catastrophic extinction rate of 20% by the end of the 20th century.[12sony VPCEH190X battery

 

sony VPCEH34FX battery0] According to Conservation International, “the country is one of the few nations that is, in its entirety, both a hotspot and a megadiversity country, placing it among the top priority hotspots for global conservation.”[110]

Climate

 

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Typhoon Megi (known as Juan)over the Philippines

Main article: Climate of the Philippines

The Philippines has a tropical maritime climate and is usually hot and humid. There are three seasons: tag-init or tag-araw, the hot dry season or summer from March to May; tag-ulan, the rainy season from June to November; and tag-lamig, sony VPCEH1AFX battery

 

sony VPCEH2CFX battery the cool dry season from December to February. The southwest monsoon (from May to October) is known as the Habagat, and the dry winds of the northeast monsoon (from November to April), the Amihan.[12sony VPCEH1BFX battery

1] Temperatures usually range from 21 °C (70 °F) to 32 °C (90 °F) although it can get cooler or hotter depending on the season. The coolest month is January; the warmest is May.[3][122]

The average yearly temperature is around 26.6 °C (79.9 °F).[121] In considering temperature, location in terms of latitude and longitude is not a significant factor. sony VPCEH1CFX battery

 

sony VPCEH290X batteryWhether in the extreme north, south, east, or west of the country, temperatures at sea level tend to be in the same range. Altitude usually has more of an impact. The average annual temperature of Baguio at an elevation of 1,500 meters (4,900 ft) above sea level is 18.3 °C (64.9 °F), sony VPCEH1DFX battery

making it a popular destination during hot summers.[121] Likewise, Tagaytay is a favored retreat.

Sitting astride the typhoon belt, most of the islands experience annual torrential rains and thunderstorms from July to October,[1sony VPCEH2AFX battery

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sony VPCEH27FX battery23] with around nineteen typhoons entering the Philippine area of responsibility in a typical year and eight or nine making landfall.[124][125][126] Annual rainfall measures as much as 5,000 millimeters (200 in) in the mountainous east coast section but less than 1,000 millimeters (39 in) in some of the sheltered valleys.[1sony VPCEH22FX battery

sony VPCEH24FX battery23] The wettest known tropical cyclone to impact the archipelago was the July 1911 cyclone, which dropped over 1,168 millimeters (46.0 in) of rainfall within a 24-hour period in Baguio City.[12sony VPCEH23FX battery

7] Bagyo is the local term for a tropical cyclone in the Philippines.[127] For the PAGASA, at least 19-22 storms would enter in their area and 10-13 storms would hit the Philippines.

Economy

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Main article: Economy of the Philippines

The national economy of the Philippines is the 41st largest in the world, with an estimated 2013 gross domestic product (nominal) of $272.207 billion.[7] Sony SVE151G11M battery

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Sony SVE14AJ15M battery Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, sony SVE1513RCXS battery

 

sony SVE1511KFXW battery transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits.[5] Major trading partners include the United States, Sony SVE171B11M battery

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Sony SVE14AE15M battery Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Germany, Taiwan, and Thailand.[5] Its unit of currency is the Philippine peso (₱ or PHP).

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Makati in Metro Manila, the country’s financial center.

A newly industrialized country, the Philippine economy has been transitioning from one based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing. Of the country’s total labor force of around 38.1 million,[5sony SVE15138CXS battery

] the agricultural sector employs close to 32% but contributes to only about 14% of GDP. The industrial sector employs around 14% of the workforce and accounts for 30% of GDP.

 

Sony SVE14AG18M battery Meanwhile the 47% of workers involved in the services sector are responsible for 56% of GDP.[128][129]

 

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The unemployment rate as of July 2009 stands at around 7.6% and due to the global economic slowdown inflation as of September 2009 reads 0.70%.[129] Gross international reserves as of July 2011 are $83.201 billion.[1sony SVE15132CXS battery

 

sony SVE1511GFXW battery30] In 2004, public debt as a percentage of GDP was estimated to be 74.2%; in 2008, 56.9%.[5] Gross external debt has risen to $66.27 billion.[5] The country is a net importer.[129] sony SVE1512GCXW battery

 

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After World War II, the country was for a time regarded as the second wealthiest in East Asia, next only to Japan.[76][131][ Sony SVE171E11M battery

Sony SVE14AG15M battery132] However, by the 1960s its economic performance started being overtaken. The economy stagnated under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos as the regime spawned economic mismanagement and political volatility.[76sony SVE15125CXS battery

 

sony SVE1511CFXS battery][132] The country suffered from slow economic growth and bouts of economic recession. Only in the 1990s with a program of economic liberalization did the economy begin to recover.[76][132] sony SVE15115MFXS battery

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The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis affected the economy, resulting in a lingering decline of the value of the peso and falls in the stock market. But the extent it was affected initially was not as severe as that of some of its Asian neighbors. sony SVE15126CXS battery

 

sony SVE1511BGXS battery This was largely due to the fiscal conservatism of the government, partly as a result of decades of monitoring and fiscal supervision from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in comparison to the massive spending of its neighbors on the rapid acceleration of economic growth.[6Sony SVE151E11M battery

 

 

sony SVE1511AFXS battery5] There have been signs of progress since. In 2004, the economy experienced 6.4% GDP growth and 7.1% in 2007, its fastest pace of growth in three decades.[133][134] sony SVE15134CXS battery

sony SVE15135CXS battery [135] Yet average annual GDP growth per capita for the period 1966–2007 still stands at 1.45% in comparison to an average of 5.96% for the East Asia and the Pacific region as a whole and the daily income for 45% of the population of the Philippines remains less than $2.[136][1sony SVE15112FXS battery

 

sony SVE1411CFXW battery37] Despite enjoying sustained economic growth during the 2000s (decade), as of 2010, the country’s economy remains smaller than those of its Southeast Asian neighbors Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore in terms of GDP and GDP per capita (nominal).[138] sony SVE15113FXS battery

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Other incongruities and challenges exist. The economy is heavily reliant on remittances which surpass foreign direct investment as a source of foreign currency. Regional development is uneven with Luzon sony SVE15115FXS battery

 

sony SVE14A190X battery– Metro Manila in particular – gaining most of the new economic growth at the expense of the other regions,[ sony SVE151190X battery

 

sony SVE14A37CXH battery139] although the government has taken steps to distribute economic growth by promoting investment in other areas of the country. Despite constraints, service industries such as tourism and business process outsourcing have been identified as areas with some of the best opportunities for growth for the country.[129] sony SVE1511NFXS battery

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sony SVE14A35CXH battery [140] Goldman Sachs includes the country in its list of the “Next Eleven” economies.[141] but China and India have emerged as major economic competitors.[142] sony SVE1512JCXW battery

 

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Goldman Sachs estimates that by the year 2050, it will be the 14th largest economy in the world. HSBC also projects the Philippine economy to become the 16th largest economy in the world, 5th largest economy in Asia and the largest economy in the South East Asian region by 2050.[143]

 

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The Philippines is a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asian Development Bank which is headquartered in Mandaluyong City, the Colombo Plan, the G-77, and the G-24 among other groups and institutions.[5] sony SVE1512KCXS battery

 

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Demographics

 

Main articles: Demographics of the Philippines, Filipino people, and Overseas Filipino

 

 

Ethnic groups per province

Population in Philippines increased from 1990 to 2008 by approximately 28 million, a 45% growth in that time frame.[144] The first official census in the Philippines was carried out in 1877 and recorded a population of 5,567,685.[14sony SVE1513APXS battery

 

sony SVE151290X battery5] As of 2011, the Philippines has become the world’s 12th most populous nation, with a population of over 94 million. It is estimated that half of the population resides on the island of Luzon. The population growth rate between 1995 to 2000 of 3.21% decreased to an estimated 1.95% for the 2005 to 2010 period, but remains a contentious issue.[146]

 

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sony SVE15128CXS battery [147] The population’s median age is 22.7 years with 60.9% aged from 15 to 64 years old.[5] Life expectancy at birth is 71.94 years, 75.03 years for females and 68.99 years for males.[148] sony SVE1513BCXS battery

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There are about 11 million Filipinos outside the Philippines.[149] Since the liberalization of United States immigration laws in 1965, the number of people in the United States having Filipino ancestry has grown substantially. sony SVE1713ACXB battery

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In 2007 there were an estimated 3.1 million.[150][151] According to the United States Census Bureau, immigrants from the Philippines made up the second largest group after Mexico that sought family reunification.[152sony SVE1713CCXB battery

 

sony SVE17137CXB battery] Some two million Filipinos work in the Middle East, with nearly a million in Saudi Arabia alone.[153]

Ethnicity

Main article: Ethnic groups of the Philippines

According to the 2000 census, 28.1% of Filipinos are Tagalog, 13.1% Cebuano, 9% Ilocano, 7.6% Bisaya/Binisaya, 7.5% Hiligaynon, 6% Bikol, 3.4% Waray, and 25.3% as “others”,[5][154] which can be broken down further to yield more distinct non-tribal groups like the Moro, the Kapampangan, the Pangasinense, the Ibanag, and the Ivatan.[15sony SVE1713DCXB battery

 

sony SVE171290X battery5] There are also indigenous peoples like the Igorot, the Lumad, the Mangyan, the Bajau, and the tribes of Palawan.[156] Negritos, such as the Aeta and the Ati, are considered among the earliest inhabitants of the islands.[157] sony SVE1713ECXB battery

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Filipinos generally belong to several Asian ethnic groups classified linguistically as part of the Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesian speaking people.[15sony SVE1712BCXB battery

 

sony SVE17132CXB battery6] It is believed that thousands of years ago Austronesian-speaking Taiwanese aborigines migrated to the Philippines from Taiwan, bringing with them knowledge of agriculture and ocean-sailing, eventually displacing the earlier Negrito groups of the islands.[158] They were later supplanted by arrivals of Chinese and Japanese in the northern islands, and Malays, Indians, sony SVE17122CXB battery

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sony SVE17127CXB battery Arabs in the southern islands. Later arrivals during the colonial period include more Japanese, Indians, Spaniards, Americans, as well as other European peoples. Intermarriage between the groups is evident in the major cities and urban areas.[159][160][161] Sony VGP-BPL13 Battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS15/S Battery Descendants of such mixed couples are known as mestizos.[162]

The two most important non-indigenous minorities include the Chinese and the Spaniards. Chinese Filipinos, mostly descended from immigrants from Fujian, Sony VGP-BPL14 Battery

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Sony VGP-BPS15/B Battery China after 1898, number 2 million, although there is an estimated 28 million Filipinos who have partial Chinese ancestry, stemming from precolonial Chinese migrants.[1Sony VGP-BPL14B Battery

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Sony VGP-BPS15 Battery63] Chinese Filipinos have a prominent role in the country’s private sector, and are part of the larger bamboo network, a network of overseas Chinese businesses operating in the markets of Southeast Asia that share common family and cultural ties.[164Sony VGP-BPS10 Battery

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Sony VGP-BPS14B Battery] Other significant minorities include Americans, mostly White, numbering 300,000, and Koreans, numbering 96,000. Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery

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Cities

Main article: Cities of the Philippines

Metro Manila is the most populous of the 12 defined metropolitan areas in the Philippines and the 11th most populous in the world. As of the 2007 census, it had a population of 11,553,427, comprising 13% of the national population.[1Sony VGP-BPS12/Q Battery

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Sony VGP-BPS14/B Battery65] Including suburbs in the adjacent provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) of Greater Manila, the population is around 21 million.[165][166]

Metro Manila’s gross regional product is estimated as of July 2009 to be ₱468.4 billion (at constant 1985 prices) Sony VGP-BPS13A/B Battery

and accounts for 33% of the nation’s GDP.[167] In 2011, it ranked as the 28th wealthiest urban agglomeration in the world and the 2nd in Southeast Asia, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.[168Sony VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS14 Battery] Cebu City in the Visayas and Davao City in Mindanao are other

Ethnologue lists 175 individual languages in the Philippines, 171 of which are living languages while 4 no longer have any known speakers. Sony VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

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Sony VGP-BSP13/S Battery They are part of the Borneo–Philippines group of the Malayo-Polynesian languages, which is itself a branch of the Austronesian language family.[156]

According to the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Filipino and English are the official languages. Filipino is a standardized version of Tagalog, Sony VGP-BPS13B/S Battery

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Sony VGP-BPS13/Q Battery spoken mainly in Metro Manila and other urban regions. Both Filipino and English are used in government, education, print, broadcast media, and business. The constitution designates regional languages such as Bicolano, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, Tagalog, Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery

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and Waray-Waray as auxiliary official languages and mandates that Spanish and Arabic shall be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis.[11]

Other languages such as Aklanon, Cuyonon, Ifugao, Itbayat, Ivatan, Kalinga, Kamayo, Kankanaey, Kinaray-a, Maguindanao, Maranao, Masbateño, Sony VGP-BPS21B Battery

Romblomanon, Surigaonon, Tausug, Yakan, and several Visayan languages are prevalent in their respective provinces. The Chavacano language, a creole language born from Spanish, is also spoken in Cavite and Zamboanga.[170] Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery

 

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The Philippines is a secular nation having a constitution separating the state and church. However, more than 90% of the population are Christians: about 80% belong to the Roman Catholic Church while 10% belong to other Christian denominations, such as the Iglesia ni Cristo, Sony VGP-BPS22 Battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS26 Batterythe Philippine Independent Church, United Church of Christ in the Philippines (a mainline Protestant united church), and Jehovah’s Witnesses.[17Sony VGP-BPS21A/B Battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS26A Battery2] As a result of Spanish cultural influence, the Philippines is one of two predominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia, the other being East Timor, a former Portuguese colony. Sony VGP-BPS22A Battery

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Between 5% and 10% of the population are Muslim, most of whom live in parts of Mindanao, Palawan, and the Sulu Archipelago – an area known as Bangsamoro or the Moro region.[173][174] Some have migrated into urban and rural areas in different parts of the country. Most Muslim Filipinos practice Sunni Islam according to the Shafi’i school.[42] Sony VGP-BPL14 battery

 

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Philippine traditional religions are still practiced by many aboriginal and tribal groups, often syncretized with Christianity and Islam. Animism, folk religion, and shamanism remain present as undercurrents of mainstream religion, Sony VGP-BPL14/B battery

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Sony VGP-BPS12/Q batterythrough the albularyo, the babaylan, and the manghihilot. Buddhism, Taoism, and Chinese folk religion, are dominant in Chinese communities.[174] There are also followers of Hinduism, Sikhism,[160] and Judaism and Baha’i.[175] Sony VGP-BPS14 battery

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Education

The National Statistics Office reports a simple literacy rate of 93.4% and a functional literacy rate of 84.1% for 2003.[5][129][1Sony VGP-BPS14/B battery

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36] Literacy is about equal for males and females.[5] Spending for education is around 2.5% of GDP.[5] According to the Department of Education, or DepEd, there were 44,846 elementary schools and 10,384 secondary schools registered for the school year 2009–2010[176] while the Commission on Higher Education (CHEDSony VGP-BPS14/S battery
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) lists 2,180 higher education institutions, 607 of which are public and 1,573 private.[177] Classes start in June and end in March. The majority of colleges and universities follow a semester calendar from June to OctoberSony VGP-BPL12 battery

 

Sony vgp-bps24 battery and November to March. There are a number of foreign schools with study programs.[3] Republic Act No. 9155 gives the framework of basic education in the Philippines and provides for compulsory elementary education and free high school education.[178] Sony VGP-BPS12 battery

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Several government agencies are involved with education. The Department of Education covers elementary, secondary, and nonformal education; the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Sony VGP-BPL20 battery

 

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administers the post-secondary middle-level education training and development; and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) supervises the college and graduate academic programs and degrees as well as regulates standards in higher education.[ Sony VGP-BPS20/B battery

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Sony VGP-BPL22 battery179] In 2004, madaris were mainstreamed in 16 regions nationwide mainly in Muslim areas in Mindanao under the auspices and program of the Department of Education.[180] Public universities are all non-sectarian entities, and are further classified as State University and College (SUC) or Local College and University (LCU).[1Sony VGP-BPL14 battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS22 battery77] SUCs are funded by the national government as determined by the Philippine Congress.[181] The University of the Philippines is the national university of the Philippines.[182]

Health

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Main articles: Health in the Philippines and List of hospitals in the Philippines

Most of the national burden of health care is taken up by private health providers. In 2006, total expenditures on health represented 3.8% of GDP. Sony VGP-BPL14/S battery

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67.1% of that came from private expenditures while 32.9% was from government. External resources accounted for 2.9% of the total. Health expenditures represented about 6.1% of total government spending. Sony VGP-BPS14/B battery

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Per capita total expenditure at average exchange rate was $52.[183] The proposed national health budget for 2010 is ₱28 billion (about $597 million) or ₱310 ($7) per person.[184] The government share of total spending on health has declined steadily, and with more people, there has been less to spend per person. Sony VGP-BPS14/S battery

 

 

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There are an estimated 90,370 physicians or 1 per every 833 people, 480,910 nurses, 43,220 dentists, and 1 hospital bed per every 769 people.[183Sony VGP-BPS26 battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS22A battery] Retention of skilled practitioners is a problem. 70% of nursing graduates go overseas to work. The country is the biggest supplier of nurses.[185] In 2001 there were about 1,700 hospitals,

 

Sony VGP-BPL22 battery of which about 40% were government-run and 60% private. Cardiovascular diseases account for more than 25% of all deaths. According to official estimates, 1,965 cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were reported in 2003, Sony VGP-BPL26 battery

Sony VGP-BPS22 batteryof which 636 had developed acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Other estimates have as many as 12,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in 2005.[186]

Infrastructure

A jeepney and a bus, common forms of public transport in the Philippines

The transportation infrastructure in the country is relatively underdeveloped. Partly this is due to the mountainous terrain and the scattered geography of the islands, Sony VGP-BPS26A battery

but it is also the result of the government’s persistent underinvestment in infrastructure. In 2003, only 3.6% of GDP went to infrastructure development which was significantly lower than that of some of its neighbors. Sony SVS13AA11M battery

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[123] Consequently, while there are 203,025 kilometers (126,154 mi) of roads in the country, only around 20% of the total is paved.[187]

Nevertheless there are many ways to get around, especially in urban areas. Buses, jeepneys, taxis, and motorized tricycles are commonly available in major cities and towns. Sony SVS131B12M battery

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Sony SVS1511W9EB batteryIn 2007, there were about 5.53 million registered motor vehicles with registration increasing at an average annual rate of 4.55%.[188] Train services are provided by three main railway networks that serve different areas of Metro Manila and parts of Luzon:
Sony SVS1511V9EB battery the Manila Light Rail Transit System (LRT), the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT), and the Philippine National Railways (PNR).

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Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the main gateway to the country

As an archipelago, inter-island travel via watercraft is often necessary. The busiest seaports are Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Sony SVS151A12M battery

Sony SVS1511N3ES batteryand Zamboanga.[189] Passenger ships and other sea vessels such as those operated by 2GO Travel and Sulpicio Lines serve Manila, with links to various cities and towns. In 2003, the 919-kilometer (571 mi) Sony SVS1311E3EW battery

Sony SVS1511M3EW batteryStrong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH), an integrated set of highway segments and ferry routes covering 17 cities was established.[190]

Some rivers that pass through metropolitan areas, such as the Pasig River and Marikina River, have air-conditioned commuter ferries. Sony SVS1311P9EB battery
Sony SVS1511L3ES batteryThe Pasig River Ferry Service has numerous stops in Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig and Marikina.[191] There are 3,219 kilometers (2,000 mi) of navigable inland waterways.[5] Sony PCG-4121DM battery

 

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There are 85 public airports in the country, and around 111 more that are private.[187] The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is the main international airport. Other important airports include the Clark International Airport, Sony PCG-4121EM battery

 

Sony PCG-41217M battery Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Francisco Bangoy International Airport and Zamboanga International Airport. Philippine Airlines, Asia’s oldest commercial airline still operating under its original name, and Cebu Pacific, the leading low-cost airline, are the major airlines serving most domestic and international destinations.[192][193][19Sony PCG-41211M battery
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The Philippines has a sophisticated cellular phone industry and a high concentration of users.[195] As of 2008, there are about 67.9 million cellular phone subscribers in the Philippines.[196] Text messaging is a popular form of communication Sony PCG-41218M battery

 

Sony PCG-41215M battery and has fostered a culture of quick greetings and forwarded jokes among Filipinos. In 2007, the nation sent an average of one billion SMS messages per day.[197] Out of this growing number of avid text message senders, Sony PCG-41414M battery

Sony PCG-41212M battery over five million of them use their cellular phones as virtual wallets, making it a leader among developing nations in providing financial transactions over cellular networks.[198] Sony PCG-41214M battery
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The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company commonly known as PLDT is the leading telecommunications provider. It is also the largest company in the country.[195][1Sony VPCEA3S1R Battery
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Sony SVE1511J1EW battery99] Its wholly owned subsidiaries Smart Communications and Piltel, along with Globe Telecom of the Ayala Group, BayanTel, and Sun Cellular are the major cellular service providers in the country. Sony SVE1711T1EB battery

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There are approximately 383 AM and 659 FM radio stations and 297 television and 873 cable television stations.[200] Estimates for internet penetration in the Philippines vary widely ranging from a low of 2.5 million to a high of 24 million people.[201Sony SVE1711K1EW battery
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Sony SVE1511H1EW battery][202] Social networking and watching videos are among the most frequent internet activities.[203][204]

Culture and society

 

Main articles: Culture of the Philippines, Literature of the Philippines, Music of the Philippines, and Original Pilipino Music

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Sony SVE1511B1EW batteryPercussion instruments that make up the Philippine kulintang ensemble, an example of pre-Hispanic musical tradition

Philippine culture is a combination of Eastern and Western cultures. The Philippines exhibits aspects found in other Asian countries with a Malay[2Sony SVE1511G1EW battery
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Sony SVE1511S1EB battery05] heritage, yet its culture also displays a significant amount of Spanish and American influences. Traditional festivities known as barrio fiestas (district festivals) to commemorate the feast days of patron saints are common. The Moriones Festival and Sinulog Festival are a couple of the most well-known. Sony SVE1511G1EB battery
Sony SVE1511S1EW battery These community celebrations are times for feasting, music, and dancing. Some traditions, however, Sony SVE1513A1ES battery

 

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are changing or gradually being forgotten due to modernization. The Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company has been lauded for preserving many of the Sony PCG-41311M battery

 

various traditional folk dances found throughout the Philippines. They are famed for their iconic performances of Philippine dances such as the tinikling and singkil that both feature the use of clashing bamboo poles.[206]

 

Sony VGP-BPS20 batteryBarasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan where the First Philippine Republic was founded.

One of the most visible Hispanic legacies is the prevalence of Spanish names and surnames among Filipinos. However, a Spanish name and surname does not necessarily denote Spanish ancestry. This peculiarity, Sony PCG-41313M battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS20/S batteryunique among the people of Asia, came as a result of a colonial decree, the Clavería edict, for the systematic distribution of family names and implementation of the Spanish naming system on the population.[20Sony SVE1513A1ESI battery

 

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Sony SVE171B11M battery7] The names of many streets, towns, and provinces are also in Spanish. Sony PCG-41314M battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS20/B batterySpanish architecture has left an imprint in the Philippines in the way many towns were designed around a central square or plaza mayor, but many of the buildings bearing its influence were demolished during World War II.[ Sony PCG-41315M battery

 

Sony VGP-BPL20 battery33] Some examples remain, mainly among the country’s churches, government buildings, and universities. Four Philippine baroque churches are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Sony PCG-4R2M battery

 

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Sony VPCZ23K9E batterythe San Agustín Church in Manila, the Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, the Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Santa María) Church in Ilocos Sur, and the Santo Tomás de Villanueva Church in Iloilo.[2Sony PCG-4R2M battery

Sony VPCZ13Z9E/X battery08] Vigan in Ilocos Sur is also known for the many Hispanic-style houses and buildings preserved there.[209]

The common use of the English language is an example of the American impact on Philippine society. It has contributed to the ready acceptance and influence of American pop cultural trends. This affinity is seen in Filipinos’ love of fast food, Sony PCG-4U2M battery

 

film, and music. Fast food outlets are found on many street corners. American global fast food chain stalwarts have entered the market, Sony SVE1513B1EW battery

 

Sony SVE171E13M battery but local fast food chains like Goldilocks and most notably Jollibee, the leading fast food chain in the country, have emerged and compete successfully against their foreign rivals.[210][2Sony PCG-6Z4M battery

 

Sony VPCZ13V9E battery11] Filipinos regularly listen to and watch contemporary American, Asian, and European music and film just as they enjoy Original Pilipino Music (also known as OPM) and local films

 

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Cuisine

Main article: Philippine cuisine

 

 

The halo-halo is a dessert made of ice, milk, various fruits, and ice cream.

Philippine cuisine has evolved over several centuries from its Malayo-Polynesian origins to become a mixed cuisine with many Hispanic, . Sony PCG-6112M battery

 

Sony VPCZ13 battery Chinese, American, and other Asian influences that have been adapted to local ingredients and the Filipino palate to create distinctively Filipino dishes. Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to the elaborate, such as the paellas and cocidos created for fiestas. Sony PCG-6121M battery

 

Sony PCG-6124M battery Popular dishes include lechón, adobo, sinigang, kare-kare, tapa, crispy pata, pancit, lumpia, and halo-halo. Some common local ingredients used in cooking are calamondins, coconuts, saba (a kind of short wide plantain), mangoes, Sony SVE1513C1EB battery

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Sony SVE1512I1ES battery milkfish, and fish sauce. Filipino taste buds tend to favor robust flavors but the cuisine is not as spicy as those of its neighbors.[211][21Sony PCG-6122M battery

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Unlike many of their Asian counterparts, Filipinos do not eat with chopsticks; they use Western cutlery. However, possibly due to rice being the primary staple food and the popularity of a large number of stews and main dishes with broth in Philippine cuisine, Sony VPCZ11 battery

 

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the main pairing of utensils seen at the Filipino dining table is that of spoon and fork, not knife and fork.[213] The traditional way of eating with the hands known as kamayan is seen more often in less urbanized areas.[214] Sony VPCZ11X9E battery

 

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Mythology and literature

Main articles: Philippine literature, Philippine mythology, and Deities of Philippine mythology

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Baybayin, one of several indigenous scripts of the Philippines

Philippine mythology has been handed down primarily through the traditional oral folk literature of the Filipino people. While each unique ethnic group has its own stories and myths to tell, Hindu and Spanish influences can nonetheless be detected in many cases. Sony VPCZ11X9E/B battery

 

Sony VPCZ12X9E/B battery Philippine mythology mostly consists of creation stories or stories about supernatural creatures, such as the aswang, the manananggal, the diwata/engkanto,

 

Sony SVE1512H6EB batteryand nature. Some popular figures from Philippine mythologies are Maria Makiling, Lam-Ang, and the Sarimanok.[215] Sony VPCZ11Z9E battery

 

Philippine literature comprises works usually written in Filipino, Spanish, or English. Some of the most known were created in the 19th century. Sony VPCZ11Z9E/B battery

 

Sony VPCZ12V9E/B batteryFrancisco Balagtas the poet and playwright who wrote Florante at Laura is recognized as a preeminent writer in the Filipino language. José Rizal wrote the novels Noli Me Tángere (Touch Me Not) Sony VPCZ12C7E/B battery

 

Sony VPCZ12V9E battery and El Filibusterismo (The Filibustering, also known as The Reign of Greed) and is considered a national hero. His depiction of the injustices of Spanish rule, and his death by firing squad, inspired other Philippine revolutionaries to seek independence. Sony VPCZ12M9E battery

Sony VPCZ12M9E/B battery In the 20th century, among those officially recognized as National Artists of the Philippines in literature are NVM Gonzalez, Nick Joaquin, F. Sionil Jose, and Alejandro Roces.[216] Sony PCG-6P2M Battery
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Media

Main articles: Cinema of the Philippines, Television in the Philippines, Radio in the Philippines, and Philippine drama

Philippine media uses mainly Filipino and English. Other Philippine languages, including various Visayan languages are also used, especially in radio due to its ability to reach remote rural locations that might otherwise not be serviced by other kinds of media. Sony PCG-6R1M Battery
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Sony PCG-791M BatteryThe dominant television networks ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5 also have extensive radio presence.[217]

The entertainment industry is vibrant and feeds broadsheets and tabloids with an unending supply of details about celebrities and sensationalist scandals du jour. Drama and fantasy shows are anticipated as are Latin telenovelas, Asianovelas, Sony PCG-6E1M Battery
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Sony PCG-7X1M Battery and anime. Daytime television is dominated by game shows, variety shows, and talk shows such as Eat Bulaga and It’s Showtime.[ Sony SVE1513C1EW battery

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Sony SVE1513Z1EB battery218] Philippine cinema has a long history and is popular domestically, but has faced increasing competition from American, Asian and European films. Sony PCG-6H1M Battery

Sony PCG-7T2M BatteryCritically acclaimed directors and actors include Lino Brocka and Nora Aunor for films like Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (Manila: Sony SVE1513H4EB battery

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Sony SVE1513Y1ES battery In the Claws of Light) and Himala (Miracle). In recent years it has become common to see celebrities flitting between television and movies and then moving into politics provoking concerns.[219] Sony PCG-6G2M Battery

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Sports

Main article: Sports in the Philippines

 

 

A PBA basketball game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Southeast Asia’s largest arena.

Various sports and pastimes are popular in the Philippines including basketball, boxing, cockfighting, volleyball, football, badminton, karate, taekwondo, billiards, ten-pin bowling, chess, and sipa. Motocross, Sony PCG-6J1M Battery

Sony PCG-7N2M Batterycycling, and mountaineering are also becoming popular. Basketball is played at both amateur and professional levels and is considered to be the most popular sport in the Philippines.[22Sony PCG-6J2M Battery

Sony PCG-7N1M Battery0] In almost every corner of the cities, there is a basketball court.[206]

The Philippines has participated in the Summer Olympic Games since 1924, making it the first country in Southeast Asia to compete and win a medal.[221Sony PCG-6L1M Battery

Sony PCG-7M1M Battery] The country had competed in every Summer Olympic Games since then, except when they participated in the American-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics. The Philippines is also the first tropical nation to compete at the Winter Olympics. Sony PCG-6L2M Battery

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Traditional Philippine games such as luksung baka, patintero, piko, and tumbang preso are still played primarily as children’s games among the youth.[222][ Sony PCG-7Y1M Battery

Sony PCG-7H1M Battery223] Sungka is a traditional native Philippine board game. Card games are popular during festivities, with some, including pusoy and tong-its, being used as a form of illegal gambling. Mahjong is played in some Philippine communities. Sony PCG-8V1M Battery
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Sony PCG-7G1M BatteryThe yo-yo, a popular toy in the Philippines, was introduced in its modern form by Pedro Flores with its name from the Ilokano language.[224]

Arnis (Eskrima or Kali in some regions) is the national martial art and sport.[2Sony SVE1513J1EW battery

 

Sony SVE1513U1ESI battery25] Today there are said to be almost as many Philippine fighting styles as there are islands in the Philippines. In 1972, Sony PCG-8W1M Battery

Sony PCG-7D1M Batterythe Philippine government included Filipino martial arts into the national sports arena. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports also incorporated them into the physical education curriculum for high school and college students. Sony PCG-8W2M Battery
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Some Filipinos recognized for their achievements include Francisco Guilledo, Flash Elorde, Nonito Donaire and Manny Pacquiao in boxing; Paulino Alcántara in football (soccer); Carlos Loyzaga, Robert Jaworski, and Ramon Fernandez in basketball; Efren Reyes in billiards; Eugene Torre in chess; and Rafael Nepomuceno in bowling.[226][227sony VPCF11C4E/B battery

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][228]

———————-

Manila (English: /məˈnɪlə/; Filipino: Maynila, [majˈnilaʔ]) is the capital city and the second largest city of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities (along with the municipality of Pateros) that make up the National Capital Regionsony VPCF11D4E battery

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called Metro Manila which has a population of 12 million.

The City of Manila is located on the eastern shore of Manila Bay and is bordered by the cities of Navotas and Caloocan to the north; Quezon City and San Juan to the northeast; Mandaluyong to the east; Makati to the southeast, and Pasay to the south. sony VPCF11S1E/B battery

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Manila has a total population of 1,652,171 according to the 2010 census[3] and is the second most populous city in the Philippines, behind Quezon City. The populace inhabit an area of only 38.55 square kilometres (14.88 sq mi), Sony SVE1513L1ES battery

 

Sony SVE1513U1ES battery making Manila the most densely populated city in the world.[4][5]

 

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The city is divided into six legislative districts and consists of sixteen areas: Binondo, Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Paco, Pandacan, Port Area, Quiapo, Sampaloc, San Andres, San Miguel, San Nicolas, Santa Ana, Santa Cruz, sony VPC-F21Z1E battery

 

sony VPCF12S1E/B battery Santa Mesa and Tondo. Bustling commerce and some of the most historically and culturally significant iconic landmarks in the country, as well as the seat of the executive and judicial branches of the government are found in the city. sony VPCF22J1E battery

 

sony VPCF12Z1E battery Manila is also home to many scientific and educational institutions, numerous sport facilities, and other culturally and historically significant venues.

Listed as a global city, Manila has its strengths in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, Sony SVE1513P1EW battery

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Sony SVE1513Q1ESI battery research and development, tourism and transport making it the historical, cultural, political, economic and educational center of the Philippines.[6] sony VPCF22L1E battery

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The earliest written account of the city is the 10th-century Laguna Copperplate Inscription which describes a context of a Malay kingdom maintaining diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Medang. sony VPCF23M1E battery

 

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sony VPCF13S1E/B battery The city had preferential trade with Ming dynasty China which registered the place as “東都” (Dongdu).[7] It then became a province of the Maharajanate of Majapahit and was called by its Sanskrit title, “षेलुरोन्ग्” sony VPCF22S1E battery

sony VPCF22S8E battery (Selurong)[8] before it was invaded by Brunei’s Sultan Bolkiah and renamed into كوتا سلودوڠ (Kota Saludong)[ sony VPCF23Q1E battery

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sony VPCY21S1E/G battery9] or simply Maynila. By the 15th century, it was nominally islamized when the Spanish Conquistadors first arrived. They renamed the area into Nuevo Reino de Castilla and shortened the alternative name, sony VPCF23S1E battery

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sony VPCY21S1E/L batteryMaynila to Manila. Manila eventually became the center of Spanish activity in the Far East and one end of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade route linking Europe, Latin America and Asia.[1sony VPCF11S1E battery

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sony VPCF23N1E battery0] The city would eventually be given the moniker of the “Pearl of the Orient”, as a result of its central location in the vital Pacific sea trade routes. Several Chinese insurrections, local revolts, a British Occupation and a Sepoy mutiny[11sony VPCF11Z1E/BI battery

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sony VPCF23P1E battery] also occurred shortly thereafter. Manila also saw the rise of the Philippine Revolution which was followed by the arrival of the Americans who made contributions to the city’s urban planning[1sony VPCF12F4E/H battery

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sony VPCF24Q1E battery2] and development only to have most of those improvements lost in the devastation of World War II.[13] Since then the city has been rebuilt.

The earliest evidence of human habitation in and around the area of Manila is found the via the nearby Angono Petroglyphs dated to around 3000 BC. Sony SVE1512Y1ES battery

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Furthermore, negritos, a class of Australoid peoples, became the aboriginal inhabitants of the Philippine islands. They were found across Luzon before the Malayo-Polynesians migrated in and assimilated them.[14] sony VPCF13E4E battery

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Indian influence[edit]

A page from the 16th century Boxer Codex showing a Tagalog couple of the Maginoo caste.

The Kingdom of Maynila flourished during the latter half of the Ming Dynasty as a result of direct trade relations with China. sony VPCF13J0E/H battery

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sony VPCF13M1E/H battery Ancient Tondo was maintained as the traditional capital of the empire, with its rulers as sovereign kings and not mere chieftains, and were addressed variously as panginuan or panginoon (“lords”);sony VPCF13M1E/B battery

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sony VPCF12Z1E/BI battery anak banwa (“son of heaven”); or lakandula (“lord of the palace”), the Emperor of China considered the Lakans (rulers of ancient Manila) “王” (Kings). In the 13th century, the city consisted of a fortified settlement and trading quarter at the shores of the Pasig River, on top of previous older towns. sony VPCF13Z8E battery

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sony VPCF12S1E/B battery Manila was then invaded by the Indianized empire of Majapahit as referenced in the epic eulogy poem Nagarakretagama which inscribed its conquest by Maharaja Hayam Wuruk.[8] Selurong “षेलुरोन्ग्” which is a historical name for the city of Manila is listed in Canto 14 alongside Sulot, which is now Sulu, and Kalka.[8] Sony VPCZ21L9E/B battery
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Islamic Hegemony[edit]

During the reign of Sultan Bolkiah from 1485 to 1521, Sony SVE1512N1EB battery

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Sony SVE1712Q1EW batterythe Sultanate of Brunei invaded, wanting to take advantage of Tondo’s China trade by attacking its environs and establishing “كوتا سلودوڠ Kota Saludong/ Selurong” (Now Manila). They ruled under and gave yearly tribute to the Sultanate of Brunei as its satellite state.[9] Sony VPCZ21S9E/B battery
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Sony VPCZ11E7E batteryThey established a new dynasty under the local leader who accepted Islam and became Rajah Salalila or Tariq Sulayman I. He also established a trading challenge to the already rich House of Rajah Lakandula in Tondo. Sony VPCZ21X9E/B battery
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Sony VPCZ11D7E battery Islam was further strengthened by the arrival of Muslim traders from the Arab-Indian area and Southeast Asia.[15] Manila was temporarily besieged by the invasion of Chinese pirate-warlord Limahong (1574) Sony VPCZ13B7E battery
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Sony VPCZ11C7E battery before it became the seat of the colonial government of Spain.

Viceroyalty of New Spain[edit]

On June 24, 1571, Sony SVE1512N1ESI battery

 

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Sony SVE1712L1EW battery Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi arrived from New Spain, now Mexico, and then exercised rule of the Spanish city of Manila as a territory of New Spain with the establishment of a city council in what today is the district of Intramuros.[1Sony VPCZ13D7E battery
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Sony VPCZ11C5E battery] Miguel López de Legazpi executed the local royalty after the failure of the Tondo Conspiracy; a plot wherein an alliance between Japanese merchants, Luzon’s Rajahs with several Visayan Datus plus the Brunei Sultanate would band together to execute the Spaniards and their allies which came from the Americas and AfricaSony VPCZ13F7E battery
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Sony VPCZ11A7R batteryAt the conclusion of which, the victorious Spaniards made Manila the capital of the Spanish East Indies and of the Philippine Islands, Sony SVE1512Q1EW battery

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Sony SVE1712H1EWbatterywhich the empire would control for the next three centuries, from 1565 to 1898. (Still, the Spanish also massacred about 26000 Chinese residents of Manila in 1603) Sony VPCZ12S9R/B battery

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Manila then became famous during the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade which lasted for three centuries and brought goods from Europe, Africa and Latin America across the Pacific Islands to Southeast Asia (Which was already Sony VPCZ12S9R/S battery

Sony VPCZ12C5E battery an entrepot for goods coming from India, Indonesia and China) and trade also flowed vice versa. Silver that was mined in Mexico and Peru were exchanged for Chinese silk, Indian gems, and the spices of the Southeast Asia, Sony VPCZ12V9E/X battery
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Sony VPCZ12B7E battery some of which even flowed to Europe. Likewise wines and olives grown from Europe and North Africa were transshipped via Mexico towards Manila.[17]

British Occupation[edit] Sony VPCZ12X9E/X battery

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The city was occupied by Great Britain for two years from 1762 to 1764 as part of the European Seven Years’ War between Spain and France and Great Britain.[1Sony SVE1512T1ESI battery

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Sony SVE1712F1EW battery8] The city remained the capital of the Philippines under the government of the provisional British governor, Sony VPCZ12E7E battery
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Sony VPCZ11Z9R/B battery Dawsonne Drake, acting through the Mexico-born Archbishop of Manila, Manuel Rojo del Rio y Vieyra and the captive Audiencia Real.[19] Sony SVE171A11M battery

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Sony SVE1712F1EB battery However, armed resistance to the British persisted, centered in Pampanga, and was led by Oidor Don Simón de Anda y Salazar.[19
Sony VPCZ11X9R/B battery] During the course of the occupation, the captive Hashemite Sultan of Sulu, Azim ud-Din I, was used as a hostage by both the British and Spanish. Also, the Chinese at Binondo rebelled against Spain and afterwards, the British’s Sepoy mercenaries from India, mutinied against them.[2Sony VPCZ12G7E battery

Sony VPCZ11X9R/S battery0] Eventually, the British withdrew as per agreements in the Treaty of Paris (1763).[21] The Sepoys however, elected to stay and they settled in the area around Cainta, Rizal.[1Sony VPCZ12H7E battery

Sony VPCZ12X9R/B battery1] As for the Chinese, thereafter, the Spanish Fortress-city of Intramuros always pointed their cannons against Binondo (The world’s oldest Chinatown) to create a quick response against anymore Chinese uprisings.[22] Sony VPCZ12L7E battery

Direct Spanish Rule[edit]

 

 

Escolta Street in 1878

After the British Occupation, direct trade and communications with Spain facilitated by the opening of the Suez Canal, supplanted indirect rule via the Viceroyalty. Eventually, Mexican Independence in 1821 necessitated direct rule from Spain.[ Sony VPCZ12J7E battery
Sony VPCZ12L9E/B battery23] Under direct Spanish rule, banking, industry and education flourished more than in the past two centuries.[24] Sony SVE1511Z1E battery

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The growing wealth and education attracted Indian, Chinese, Latino, European and local migrants from the Philippine provinces to Manila, Sony VGN-NW31EF Battery
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Sony VGN-FW54M Battery all of whom elected a nascent Filipino nationality regardless of ethnicity.[25] The developments also facilitated the rise of an illustrado class which espoused liberal ideas, the ideological foundations of the Philippine Revolution which sought independence from Spain. Sony VGN-NW24S Battery

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American Colonial Period[edit]

 

 

The Burnham Plan of Manila. North is at the left.

After the Battle of Manila (1898), Spain ceded the surrendered city of Manila to the United States. The First Philippine Republic based at nearby Bulacan fought against the Americans for control of the city of Manila.[2Sony VGN-NW26M Battery
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Sony VGN-FW54S Battery 6] The Americans defeated the First Philippine Republic and captured president Emilio Aguinaldo who announced allegiance to the United States on April 1, 1901.

Under American control, Sony VGN-NW20SF Battery
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a new civilian oriented Insular Government headed by then Governor-General William Howard Taft invited city planner Daniel Burnham for the transformation of Manila, to adapt the old city to changed times and modern needs.[27] Sony VGN-FW4ZTJ/H Battery

Sony VGN-FW54J Battery The Burnham Plan included development of the road system, the use of waterways for transportation, and beautification of Manila with the improvement of waterfronts, construction of parks, Sony VGN-FW51 Battery

Sony VGN-FW54E Battery parkways and various building for various activities.[28][29] The latter included a government center occupying all of Wallace Field, which extends from Luneta to the present Taft Avenue. Sony VGN-FW51ZF/H Battery

Sony VGN-FW46Z Battery The Philippine Capitol was to rise at the Taft Avenue end of the field, facing toward the sea, and would form, with the buildings of different government bureaus and departments, a quadrangle, Sony VGN-FW51MF/H Battery
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lagoon in the center, and a monument to Jose Rizal at its Luneta end. Of Burnham’s proposed government center, only three units — the Legislative Building and the building of the Finance and Agricultural departments — were completed when World War II erupted. Sony VGN-FW41M/H Battery

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Japanese Invasion[edit]

 

 

The destruction brought about by the Battle of Manila

Due to the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, American soldiers were ordered to withdraw from the city and all military installations were removed on December 24, Sony VGN-FW41ZJ/H Battery
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Sony VGN-NW26EG Battery 1941. General Douglas MacArthur declared Manila an open city to prevent further death and destruction; despite this, the Japanese warplanes continued to bomb the city. Manila was occupied by the Japanese forces on January 2, 1942. Sony VGN-NW24S Battery
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Manila was also the site of the bloodiest battle in the Pacific theater during the Second World War. After falling to the Empire of Japan on January 2, 1942, it was recaptured by joint American and Filipino troops from February 3 to March 3, 1945. Sony VGN-FW56J Battery

Sony VGN-NW24MG BatterySome 100,000 civilians were killed in Manila in February 1945.[30] It was the second most devastated city in the world after Warsaw during the Second World War. Sony SVE1512C6EB battery

 

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Sony SVE151D11M battery At the end of World War II, almost all of the structures in the city, particularly Intramuros, were destroyed but after the war, reconstruction took place. Sony VGN-NW24EG Battery
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Sovereign Philippines[edit]

In 1948, President Elpidio Quirino moved the seat of government of the Philippines to Quezon City, a new capital city in the suburbs and fields northeast of Manila, created in 1938 by former President Manuel L. Quezon, which was renamed after him.[3Sony VGN-SR49VN/H Battery

Sony VGN-FW11ZU battery1] The move ended any implementation of the Burnham Plan’s intent for the government centre to be at Luneta.

With Arsenio Lacson as its first elected mayor in 1952 (all mayors were appointed prior to this), the city of Manila underwent The Golden Age,[32] Sony VGN-FW56Z Battery
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Sony VGN-FW11S battery was revitalized, and once again became the “Pearl of the Orient”, a moniker it earned before the Second World War. After Mayor Lacson’s term in the 1950s, the city was led by Antonio Villegas during most of the 1960s, Sony VGN-SR57V Battery
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Sony VGN-FW11M battery and Ramon Bagatsing for nearly the entire decade of the 1970s until the 1986 People Power Revolution, making him the longest serving Mayor of Manila. Mayors Lacson, Villegas, Sony SVE1512C6EW battery

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Sony SVE1713W1EB battery and Bagatsing are often collectively considered as the “Big Three of Manila” less for their rather long tenures as the city’s chief executive (continuously for over three decades, Sony VGN-SR59TH/H Battery

Sony VGN-FW11E battery  from 1952–1986), but more for their indelible contribution to the development and progress of the city and their lasting legacy in uplifting the quality of life and welfare of the people of the city of Manila. Sony VGN-SR59VG/H Battery

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During the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos, the region of the Greater Manila Area was created as an integrated unit with the enactment of Presidential Decree No. 824 on November 7, 1975. Sony VGN-SR59XG/H Battery

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Sony VGN-FW21M batteryThe area encompassed four cities and thirteen adjoining towns, as a separate regional unit of government.[33] On the 405th anniversary of the city’s foundation on June 24, 1976, Sony VGN-FW56ZR Battery

Sony VGN-FW21J battery Manila was reinstated by Marcos as the capital of the Philippines for its historical significance as the seat of government since the Spanish Period. Presidential Decree No. 940 states that Manila has always been to the Filipino people and in the eyes of the world, Sony VGN-FW56SR Battery

Sony VGN-FW21E batterythe premier city of the Philippines being the center of trade, commerce, education and culture.[34]

In 1992, Alfredo Lim became the mayor, and was known for his anti-crime crusades. Lim was succeeded by Atienza, who served as the vice mayor during Lim’s term. Atienza was known for his campaign (and city slogan) Sony VGN-SR49VT/H Battery

Sony VGN-NW31JF battery “Buhayin ang Maynila” (Revive Manila), which saw the establishment of several parks and the repair and rehabilitation of the city’s deteriorating facilities. He was the city’s mayor for 3 terms (9 years) before being termed out of office. Sony VGN-NW21EF/S battery
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Alfredo Lim once again ran for mayor and defeated Atienza’s son Ali in the 2007 city election and immediately reversed all of Atienza’s projects[35] claiming Atienza’s projects made little contribution to the improvements of the city. Sony VGN-NW21MF/W battery
Sony VGN-NW21MF batteryThe relationship of both parties turned bitter, with the two pitting again during the 2010 city elections in which Lim won against Atienza.
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Among the numerous controversies surrounding Lim’s administration were the filing of human rights complaints against him and other city officials by councilor Dennis Alcoreza on 2008,[36] the resignation of 24 city officials because of the maltreatment of Lim’s police forces, and his bloody resolution of the Manila hostage crisis, Sony VPCF11C4E/B Battery

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Sony VPCF13Z8E Batteryone of the deadliest hostage crisis in the Philippines. Lim was also accused of graft and corruption,[37] believed to be the cause of the city’s bankruptcy. These allegations were later followed by a complaint on 2012 by Vice Mayor Isko Moreno and 28 city councilors Sony VPCF11D4E Battery

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Sony VPCF11C4E/B Battery which cited that Lim’s statement in a meeting were “life-threatening” to them.[38][39] On the 2013 elections, former President Joseph Estrada defeated Lim in the mayoral race.

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The skyline of the City of Manila as viewed from Harbour Square in the CCP Complex.

Geography[edit]

Sony SVE1512E6EB battery

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Sony SVE1713V1EB batteryLandsat satellite false-color photo of Manila Bay, Metro Manila and surrounding provinces.

Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila bay, which rests on the western shores of Luzon. The city lies 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) from mainland Asia.[4Sony SVE1512H1EB battery

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Sony SVE1713S1EW battery0] The Pasig River bisects the city. Almost all of the city sits on top of centuries of prehistoric alluvial deposits built by the waters of the Pasig and on some land reclaimed from Manila Bay. Sony VPC-F2 Battery

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The city’s land has been altered substantially by human intervention, with considerable land reclamation along the waterfronts since the American colonial times. Some of the natural variations in topography have been evened out due to the urbanization of the city. The city occupies an area of 38.55 square kilometres Sony VPCF22L1E Battery

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Sony VPCF1318E/H Battery  (14.88 sq mi) and is divided into 897 barangays, the smallest unit of local government in the Philippines. Sony SVE1511B1EB battery

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Sony SVE1713L1EB batteryEach barangay has its own chairperson and councilors. For administrative convenience, all the barangays in Manila are grouped into 100 zones. These zones have no form of local government. Sony VPCF22S1E Battery

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Manila is composed of 16 former towns and municipalities which was absorbed by the city in the 19th century. These settlements are now known as places within the city. They are further grouped into the six legislative districts of Manila. Sony VPCF23M1E Battery

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Climate[edit]

Under the Köppen climate classification system, Manila features a tropical savanna climate that borders on a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen climate classification Aw/Am). Sony SVE151E11M battery

 

Sony SVE1713H1EW batteryTogether with the rest of the Philippines, Manila lies entirely within the tropics. Its proximity to the equator means that the temperature range is very small, rarely going below 20 °C (68 °F) Sony VPCF231S1E Battery

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Sony VPCF13J0E/H Batteryor above 38 °C (100 °F) . However, humidity levels are usually very high all year round. It has a distinct dry season from late December through May, and a relatively lengthy and cooler wet season that covers the remaining period with mild to warm temperatures. Sony VPCF24M1E Battery

In the rainy season it rarely rains all day but the rainfall is very heavy during short periods. Typhoons can occur from June to September and can cause flooding in parts of the city.[41] Sony SVE1511J1E battery

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Largely due to industrial waste and heavy reliance on automobiles, Manila suffers from air pollution[45][46] in the form of smog[4Sony VPCF11S1E Battery

 

Sony VPCF13E8E Battery7] which affects 98% of the residents of the city[48] and results in more than 4,000 deaths per year.[49] Open dump sites and industrial waste contribute to increasing pollution within the city.[5Sony VPCF11C4E/B Battery

 

Sony VPCF13E4E Battery0] Several rivers in Manila have been considered biologically dead. The Pasig River, where 150 tons of domestic waste and 75 tons of industrial waste were dumped daily according to a report in 2003, is now one of the most polluted rivers in the world.[51]

 

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Lack of adequate infrastructure is one of the causes of pollution in the city.[52] The district of Ermita is the most air polluted district in the city.[50] Sony SVE1511X1EB battery

 

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Rehabilitation projects are now seen in several waterways around Manila. The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission is in charge of cleaning up the Pasig River for transportation, recreation and tourism purposes.[5Sony VPCF11Z1E/BI Battery

3] Because of rehabilitation efforts, several waterways in Manila are now cleaned-up and already lined with trees, plants and flowers instead of slums, which are now relocated in other areas.[54][55

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Manila is the most densely populated city in the world with 43,079 inhabitants per km2.[56] District 6 is listed as being the most dense with 68,266 inhabitants per km2, followed by the first two districts with 64,936 and 64,710, respectively, and district 5 being the least dense with 19,235.[57] ] Sony VPCF12E1E/H Battery

Manila’s population density dwarfs that of Kolkata (27,774 inhabitants per km2), Mumbai (22,937 inhabitants per km2), Paris (20,164 inhabitants per km2), Sony VPCF13Z8E/BI Battery

 

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Dhaka (19,447 inhabitants per km2), Shanghai (16,364 inhabitants per km2, with its most dense district, Nanshi, having a density of 56,785 inhabitants per km2), and Tokyo (10,087 inhabitants per km2).[57] Sony VPCF12S1E/B Battery

 

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The vernacular language is Filipino, based mostly on the Tagalog of surrounding areas, and this Manila form of speaking Tagalog has essentially become the lingua franca of the Philippines, having spread throughout the archipelago through mass media and entertainment.

 

Sony VPCF13Z0E/B Battery Meanwhile, English is the language most widely used in education, business, and heavily in everyday usage throughout the Metro Manila region and the Philippines itself. A number of older residents can still speak basic Spanish, Sony VPCF12Z1E/BI Battery

 

Sony VPCF13M8E/B Battery which used to be a mandatory subject in the curriculum of Philippine universities and colleges, and many children of Japanese Filipino, Indian Filipino,and other migrants or expatriates also speak their parents’ languages at home, Sony VPCF13M1E/H Battery

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aside from English and/or Filipino for everyday use. Minnan Chinese (known as Lannang-oe) is spoken by the city’s Chinese-Filipino community. Sony VPCF24Q1E Battery

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A view of Roxas Boulevard, where the business hub of Manila is located.

Manila’s economy is diverse and multifaceted. With its excellent protected harbor, Manila serves as the chief seaport of the country. Diverse manufacturers produce industrial-related products such as chemicals, textiles, Sony VPCF23N1E Battery

 

Sony VPCF12S1E/B Batteryclothing, and electronic goods. Food and beverages and tobacco products also produced. Local entrepreneurs continue to process primary commodities for export, including rope, plywood, refined sugar, Sony VPCY21S1E/L Battery

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Sony VPCF12Z1E Battery copra, and coconut oil. The food-processing industry is one of the most stable major manufacturing sector in the city. Manila is also a major publishing center in the Philippines.[58]

 

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Binondo has begun to be revitalized along with Divisoria, several high-rise condominiums and offices are rising in the area. The plan to make the Chinatown area into a business process outsourcing (BPO) Sony VPCF22M0E Battery

Sony VPCF13S1E/B Batteryhub continues to progress and is being pursued by the city government of Manila. 30 buildings are already identified to be converted into BPO offices. These buildings are mostly located along the Escolta Street of Binondo, Sony SVE1511Y1E battery

Sony SVE1713F1EB batterywhich are all unoccupied and can be converted into offices.[59]

 

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The Port of Manila, the chief port of the country

Tourism in Manila attracts over 1 million tourists each year.[58] Major destinations include the walled city of Intramuros, museums such as the National Museum of the Philippines, and other tourist destinations including Ermita,

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Sony VGN-FW56E Battery Malate, Santa Cruz, the Manila Zoo, the City Chinatown and events such as the Feast of Black Nazarene, free performances in Rizal Park and events within the Cultural Center of the Philippines.[note 1Sony VGN-FW21L Battery

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Sony VGN-FW56M Battery] Rizal Park is a major tourist attraction and one of the most recognizable icons of the Philippines. Ermita and Malate, aside from being known for its nightlife, are well-known shopping destination for the upper class while Divisoria was the shopping destination for local residents. Sony VGN-FW21M Battery

 

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The city’s cash position in 2011 stated that Manila has ₱1.6 billion cash-at-hand while its gross operating expenses was ₱2.97 billion.[60] The financial expenses of the city was P45 million,[60] and has a liability of 3.3 billion.[60Sony VGN-FW31M Battery

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Sony VGN-FW51ZF/H Battery] Manila has the highest budget allocation to health and was one of the cities with the highest tax revenue.[61] Manila was also one of the cities with the highest internal revenue.[61]

 

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In 2012, the city was reported as bankrupt by the Commission on Audit (COA), citing: the city’s cash position of ₱1.006 billion is insufficient to pay its deficit of ₱3.553 billion; unclaimed remittances from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Sony VGN-FW11ZU Battery

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Sony VGN-FW46M BatteryHome Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth); and the bloating expenses for the operation of the city and its services.[62][6Sony VGN-FW21ZR Battery

 

Sony VGN-FW41ZJ/H Battery3] City officials disputed the claim and stated that the city is not bankrupt.[64] In 2013, it is confirmed by current city officials including Mayor Joseph Estrada that the city is indeed in debt, with only 242 million pesos left in its funds.[65][66] Sony VGN-FW3ZJ Battery

 

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The Basilica Minore de San Sebastian, the only all-steel church in Asia.[67]

Residents in the city are mainly Christians, though the city welcomes all people of other faiths. Roman Catholics predominate, comprising 93.5% of the population, followed by Philippine Independent Church 2.4%,Sony VGN-FW41E/H Battery

Sony VGN-FW41J/H Battery followed by Iglesia ni Cristo, comprising 1.9% of the population followed by Protestants (1.8%) and Buddhist (1.1%). Other religions comprises the remaining 1.4% of the city’s population.[68] Manila is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, Sony VGN-FW31E Battery

 

Sony VGN-NW20EF/W Battery the oldest archdiocese in the country, and the Primate of the Philippines, whose offices were located at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.[69] Manila is home to three other basilicas, Sony VGN-FW31J Battery

 

Sony VGN-NW20EF/S Batterybesides the Manila Cathedral, namely, the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and the Basilica Minore de San Sebastian. Being the seat of the Spanish colonial government in past centuries, it has been used as the base of numerous Roman Catholic missions to the Philippines. Sony VGN-FW44MR Battery

 

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The interior of San Agustin Church in Intramuros, one of the most visited places in the city.

Other notable churches in the city include San Agustin Church in Intramuros, the shrine of the canonically crowned image of Nuestra Señora de Consolación y Correa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site,[69Sony VGN-FW11MR Battery

 

Sony VGN-NW31EF Battery] and a favorite wedding place of notable people and one of two fully air-conditioned churches in the city; the Binondo Church, also known as Basilica Minore de San Lorenzo Ruiz; Malate Church, the shrine of Nuestra Señora de Remedios; Sony VGN-FW11S Battery

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Sony VGN-NW31JF Battery Ermita Church, home of the oldest Marian Image in the Philippines, Nuestra Señora de Guia; Tondo Church, home of the century-old ivory image of Sto. Niño (Child Jesus); and Sta. Ana Church, shrine of the canonically crowned image of Nuestra Senora de los Desamparados.

 

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Aside from the Evangelical Christians, Manila is also the home of most of the country’s Mainline Protestants. The Pro-Cathedral of the Saint Stephen, the center of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines is also found in the city. Sony VGN-FW11Z Battery

 

Sony VGN-NW21ZF Battery The mainly Filipino revolutionary church Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church or Aglipayan Church) is headquartered in the city. Also, the main campus of the Cathedral of Praise is located within the city. Sony VGN-FW11ZU Battery

 

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The city also hosts other faiths. There are many Buddhist and Taoist temples built by the Chinese community in Manila. Quiapo is home to a sizable Muslim population in Manila, where Masjid Al-Dahab is located. There is also a large Hindu temples for the Indian population, and Sikh Temples are also erected. Sony VGN-FW21SR Battery

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Nightlife in Manila centres around Ermita and Malate, along with Intramuros. Areas in Binondo, the city’s Chinatown, also attract many people, while other notable areas in the city such as Quiapo and Divisoria are known for being one of the shopping center of bargain goods. Sony VGN-FW46S Battery

 

Sony VGN-NW21MF Battery Ermita and Malate, being a popular tourist destination, showcase a wide variety of hotels, restaurants, clubs, bars, cafes, art and antique shops. The nightlife offers everything from cultural exhibitions to discothèques, casinos, entertainment lounges, and fashionable cafes.

 

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Annual cultural events[edit]

Manila celebrates civic and national holidays. Manila Day, which celebrates the city’s founding, was first proclaimed by Herminio A. Astorga (then Vice Mayor of Manila) on 24 June 1962 and has been annually commemorated, Sony VGN-FW46Z Battery

 

Sony VGN-FW54S Batteryunder the patronage of John the Baptist. Each of the city’s districts also have their own fiesta (festivals). The city is also the host to the Feast of the Black Nazarene, held every 9 January, which draws millions of Catholic devotees. Sony VGN-FW48E/H Battery

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Museums[edit]

 

 

The National Museum of the Philippines

As the cultural center of the Philippines, Manila houses a number of notable museums. Bahay Tsinoy, one of Manila’s most prominent museums, documents the Chinese lives and contributions in the history of the Philippines. Sony VGN-FW56ZR Battery

Sony VGN-FW54J Battery The Intramuros Light and Sound Museum chronicles the Filipinos desire for freedom during the revolution under Rizal’s leadership and other revolutionary leaders. The Metropolitan Museum of Manila exhibits the Filipino arts and culture. The Museum of Manila is the city-owned museum that exhibits the city’s culture and history. Sony VGN-NW31EF Battery

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Manila is also home to other notable museums of the country, namely the Museo Pambata, a children’s museum, the Museum of Philippine Political History, which exhibits notable political events in the country, Sony VGN-NW24S Battery

 

Sony VGN-NS20EF/P Batterythe National Museum of the Philippines (which includes the Museum of the Filipino People) of which exhibits life, culture and history of the country, the Parish of the Our Lady of the Abandoned and the San Agustin Church Museum, which houses religious artifacts, Plaza San Luis, Sony VGN-NW26M Battery

 

Sony VGN-NS30Z/S Batterya public museum, the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences and the DLS-CSB Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), both of which are university museums dedicated to science and technology, and contemporary art respectively. Sony VGN-NW20EF Battery

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Other points of interest[edit]

Numerous notable landmarks are located in Manila, such as Rizal Park and the historical Intramuros. Rizal park is a crescent-shaped 58 hectares (140 acres)[70] park, it was erected for the country’s national hero, José Rizal. Among the attractions in Rizal Park is the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, the National Museum of the Philippines, Sony VGN-NW24JG Battery

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Sony VGN-NS30E/S BatteryThe National Library of the Philippines, the Planetarium, the Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion, the park auditorium, a landscaped relief map of the Philippines, the fountain, the children’s lagoon, the chess plaza, the Quirino Grandstand and the Manila Ocean Park, which features a wide variety of marine animals. Sony VGN-NW24MR Battery

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Sony VGN-NS20M/S BatteryThe flagpole west of the Rizal Monument is the Kilometer Zero marker for distances to the rest of the country. In the northernmost part of the city lie three cemeteries: the Loyola and Chinese cemeteries, and Manila North Cemetery, the largest public cemetery in the Manila metropolitan area. Sony VGN-NW26JG Battery

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Shopping centers[edit]

 

 

 

Robinsons Place Manila, a major shopping mall in the city

Manila has become a well-known shopping hub of the country and it has been named as one of the best shopping destinations in Asia.[71Sony VGN-NW21MF/P Battery

 

Sony VGN-NS20E/P Battery][72] Major shopping malls are located around the city while local and traditional shopping centers such as markets and bazaars are also located around Manila.

Robinsons Place Manila is the largest shopping mall in the city,[73] Sony VGN-NW31EF Battery

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Sony VGN-NS11J/S Battery it is located at the heart of Manila. The mall was the second and by-far, the largest Robinson Mall ever built by John Gokongwei, the mall features a wide range of local and international retail shops, dining outlets, Sony VGN-NS10E/S Battery

Sony VGN-NS10L/S Batteryentertainment facilities and service centers, it also features anchor stores such as Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Department Store and Robinsons Cinema.

Another shopping mall is the SM City Manila, it is the first SM Supermall in the city, it features major SM brands like the SM Department Store, SM Supermarket, SM Cinemas and SM Foodcourt, it is located right beside the Manila City Hall; Sony PCG-6P2M Battery

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the mall underwent major redevelopment in 2008. SM City San Lazaro is the second SM Supermall in Manila, it is located in the district of Santa Cruz, the mall sits on what was the site of the former San Lazaro Hippodrome, a racetrack for horses. Sony PCG-6R1M Battery

 

Sony PCG-8X1M BatteryThe site of the original SM Department Store located at Quiapo is known today as the SM Clearance Center, which was established in 1972 and is occupying a formerly well-known hotel with a revolving restaurant atop. Other department stores still thrive throughout the city. Sony PCG-6C1M Battery

 

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Aside from the aforementioned malls, the Tutuban Commercial Center, Lucky Chinatown Mall (Cityplace Square), 11/88 Mall, 168 Shopping Mall, and 999 Shopping Mall are some of the popular malls in the city located in Divisoria, a well-known shopping center in the country.

The traditional shopping areas of Divisoria, Binondo, and Quiapo, Sony PCG-6D1M Battery

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Sony PCG-7X1M Battery is a place for local and adventurous shoppers, these areas offers bargains and cheap buys and it also offers indigenous Filipino cuisine, crafts and delicacies. Quiapo is referred as the “Old Downtown”, it has also made a name for itself as a place where cheap buys or goods are being sold at rock-bottom prices. Sony PCG-6G2M Battery

 

Sony PCG-7T2M Battery Binondo is the oldest Chinatown in the world,[22] it is the district center of commerce and trade for all types of businesses run by Filipino-Chinese merchants; it offers Chinese restaurants, Filipino restaurants, and Chinese stores. Tiangge (flea market) stores are common, which are mostly concentrated on these areas to accommodate visitors. Sony PCG-6J1M Battery

 

Children playing basketball at Intramuros

Sports in Manila have a long and distinguished history. The city’s, and the country’s in general, main sport is basketball, Sony PCG-6L2M Battery

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Sony PCG-7N2M Battery and most barangays have a makeshift basketball court, with court markings drawn on the streets. Larger barangays have covered courts; this is where interbarangay leagues are held every summer (April–May). Sony PCG-6J2M Battery

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The city has several well-known sports venues, such as the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and San Andres Gym, the home of the now defunct Manila Metrostars.[7Sony PCG-8V1M Battery

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Sony PCG-7N1M Battery] The Rizal Memorial Sports Complex houses the Rizal Memorial Track and Football Stadium, the Baseball Stadium, Tennis Courts, Memorial Coliseum and the Ninoy Aquino Stadium (the latter two are indoor arenas). Sony PCG-8W1M Battery

 

The Rizal complex had hosted several multi-sport events, such as the 1954 Asian Games and the 1934 Far Eastern Games. Whenever the country hosts the Southeast Asian Games, most of the events are held at the complex, but on the 2005 Games, Sony PCG-8W2M Battery

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Sony PCG-7M1M Battery most events were held elsewhere. The 1960 ABC Championship and the 1973 ABC Championship, forerunners of the FIBA Asia Championship, was hosted by the complex, with the national basketball team winning on both tournaments. The 1978 FIBA World Championship was held at the complex although the latter stages were held in the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Southeast Asia’s largest indoor arena. Sony PCG-7D1M Battery

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Manila also hosts several well-known sports facilities such as the Enrique M. Razon Sports Center and the University of Santo Tomas Sports Complex, both of which are private venues owned by a university; collegiate sports are also held, Sony PCG-7H1M Battery

Sony PCG-7H2M Battery with the University Athletic Association of the Philippines and the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball games held at Rizal Memorial Coliseum and Ninoy Aquino Stadium, although basketball events had transferred to San Juan’s Filoil Flying V Arena and the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. Sony VGP-BPS13 Battery

 

 

Other collegiate sports are still held at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. Professional basketball also used to play at the city, but the Philippine Basketball Association now holds their games at Araneta Sony VGP-BPS13B/Q battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS21A battery Coliseum and Cuneta Astrodome at Pasay; the now defunct Philippine Basketball League played some of their games at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

Previously a widely-played sport in the city, Sony VGP-BPS13/Q battery

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Sony VGP-BPS21 battery Manila is now the home of the only sizable baseball stadium in the country, at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium. The stadium hosts games of Baseball Philippines; Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth were the first players to score a home run at the stadium at their tour of the country on December 2, 1934.[75] Sony VGP-BPS13/S battery

 

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Another popular sport in the city are cue sports, and billiard halls are a feature in most barangays. The 2010 World Cup of Pool was held at Robinsons Place Manila.[76] Sony VGP-BPS13/B battery

 

The Rizal Memorial Track and Football Stadium hosted the first FIFA World Cup qualifier in decades when the Philippines hosted Sri Lanka in July 2011. The stadium, which was previously unfit for international matches, Sony VGP-BPS13B/S battery

had undergone a major renovation program prior to the match.[77] The Football Stadium now regularly hosts matches of the United Football League. The stadium also hosted its first rugby test when it hosted the 2012 Asian Five Nations Division I tournaments.[78] Sony VGP-BPS13A battery

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The Rizal Monument at the Luneta Park

Manila is the site of the Rizal Park. The park lies within the heart of Manila’s cultural and business district, as an honor and dedication to the country’s national hero José Rizal, who was executed in the same place

 

Sony VGP-BPS13B battery  where the park was created by the Spaniards on charges of subversion. Manila is also the home to several plazas, such as the Plaza Balagtas and Plaza Miranda, the site of the 1971 politics-related bombings. Sony VGP-BPS13AS battery

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Notable parks and green areas include the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Rajah Sulayman Park, Manila Boardwalk, Liwasang Bonifacio, Mehan Garden, Paco Park, Remedios Circle, the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden, Pandacan Linear Park, and the Malacañang Garden. Sony VGP-BPS13A/R battery

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Within the city lies the cemeteries of the Manila Chinese Cemetery, La Loma Cemetery,[note 2] the Manila South Green Park and the Manila North Green Park, notable as being the resting place of several historical figures and being the largest cemetery in the Metropolis. Both the Manila North and South Green Park are city-owned cemeteries. Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

 

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A large number of private and public recreational areas are scattered throughout the city. Also, several playgrounds, sports facilities and gardens were erected within the city — most of these being developed in commercial areas. Sony VGP-BPS13/B battery

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Within the city there are numerous shrine plazas wherein numerous historic monuments are found. Plazas also have numerous tiangge stores accommodating visitors. Plazas, unlike parks, consist of less greenery and mostly of bricked pathways. Plazas in the city are usually located in commercial and industrial places while shrines have more greenery than plazas and no tiangge.

Government[edit] Sony VGP-BPS13/S battery

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The Manila City Hall and its iconic clock tower are among the region’s registered Cultural Properties.

The Mayor of Manila (Filipino: Alkalde ng Maynila) is restricted to three consecutive terms, totaling nine years, although a Mayor can be elected again after an interruption of one term. The Vice-Mayor is the Presiding Officer of the Manila City Council composed of the six elected City Sony VGP-BPS13A/B battery

 

Sony VGP-BPL21 battery Councilors of the legislative districts; the local President of the Association of Barangay Captains; and the Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) president. The Mayor’s office and Council seat is Manila City Hall. The civic judicial branch is administered by the Supreme Court of the Philippines under the Metro Manila judicial region. Sony VGP-BPS13A/Q battery

 

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Incumbent officials[edit]

The incumbent Mayor is Joseph Estrada, former President of the Republic of the Philippines, who defeated former mayor Alfredo Lim (2007-2013) in the 2013 local election. Isko Moreno is the city’s incumbent Vice-Mayor. Sony VGP-BPS13A/R battery

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Coat of Arms[edit]

The coat of arms of Manila is composed of the city’s modern coat-of-arms, with colours mirroring those of the National Flag. It is a modified form of the city’s colonial arms bestowed in the 16th century. Sony VGP-BPS13AB battery

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The arms consist of a pre-Hispanic shield, horizontally divided into red and blue fields. The top, red half depicts the city’s nickname, “Pearl of the Orient”, while the lower, blue half is charged with a sea-lion surmounting the waves of the River Pasig and Manila Bay. Sony VGP-BPS13B battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS21B battery The sea-lion originally represented the islands’s former colonial status as an ultramar (overseas) possession of Spain, and is ultimately derived from the arms of the León.

The arms are surrounded by a white roundel containing the words Lungsod ng Maynila and Pilipinas (Filipino, “City of Manila”;Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS21A battery “Philippines”), and six yellow stars representing the city’s six congressional districts.

Administrative districts[edit]

Maps of Manila

The city of Manila is divided into sixteen officially-defined administrative districts, and subdivided into 897 barangays that are only known by sequential numbers instead of names.[3Sony VGP-BPS13B/Q battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS21 battery] The districts only exist for administrative convenience and do not have their own sets of elected officials. Each geographical district is further divided into officially-defined “zones,” which are clusters of two or Sony VGP-BPS13B/S battery

 

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Data presented by the National Statistics Office still do not reflect the 16-district configuration recognized by the city government of Manila. It recognizes neither the western area of Santa Ana that now belongs to the fifth congressional district of Manila as the geographical district of San Andres Bukid, Sony VGP-BPS13S battery

Sony VGP-BPL13 battery nor the area of Sampaloc south of the Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard which now belongs to the sixth congressional district as the geographical district of Santa Mesa.

Legislative districts[edit]

 

 

Manila’s legislative districts

Aside from the division of the sixteen geographical districts, the city is also divided into the six legislative districts that serve as the constituencies for the election of the city’s representatives to the lower house of the Congress of the PhilippinesSony VGP-BPS13S battery

Sony VGP-BPL13 battery  and of the regular members to the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP; City Council). Each district elects one representative to the House of Representatives and six SP members to the council. The city, along with the rest of the nation, elects 12 senators as one at-large district. Sony PCG-81212M battery

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The 1st District (2007 population: 407,331) is Manila’s (and the country’s) most densely populated congressional district. It covers the western portion of Tondo that lies along Manila Bay. Within this district, the northern Port Area is located. Sony PCG-81311M battery

 

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The 2nd District (2007 population: 223,273) comprises the eastern inland portion of Tondo, a neighborhood known as Gagalangin.

The 3rd District (2007 population: 197,242) covers the districts of Binondo, Quiapo, San Nicolas and Santa Cruz. These areas were once the commercial and financial centres of the metropolis. The congressional district is home to the city’s Chinatown, Sony PCG-81312M battery

 

Sony VGN-FE11E battery and to several notable landmarks, including the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, the Binondo Church, Avenida Rizal, and the city’s three largest burial grounds: the La Loma Cemetery, the Manila Chinese Cemetery and the Manila North Green Park. Some areas of this district is a part of the University Belt. Sony PCG-81313M battery

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The 4th District (2007 population: 255,613) comprises solely the geographical district of Sampaloc, a mainly residential area. The University of Santo Tomas, along with several well-known universities is located in this district. Sony VGN-FE31M battery

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The 5th District (2007 population: 315,961) consists of the geographical districts of Ermita, Malate, Port Area, Intramuros, San Andres Bukid, and a portion of Paco (zone 90). The congressional district contains some of the most historically and culturally significant landmarks and institutions in the country, Sony VGN-FE31ZR battery

 

Sony PCG-81411M batterysuch as the old walled city of Manila, Rizal Park, the Manila Zoo, the National Museum and a portion of the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex. The Supreme Court of the Philippines, the Court of Appeals and the World Health Organization are all in Ermita. The districts of Malate and Ermita are known for entertainment and nightlife. The three century-old college, Colegio de San Juan de Letran is located in this district. Sony VGN-FE41E battery

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The 6th District (2007 population: 261,294) covers the geographical districts of Paco (except zone 90), Pandacan, San Miguel, Santa Ana and Santa Mesa. This congressional district is host to the Malacañan Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines and the main campus of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. Sony VGN-FE41MR battery

 

National government[edit]

 

 

The façade of Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines

Manila, being the seat of political power of the Philippines, has several national government offices headquartered at the city. Sony VGN-FE41S battery

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Sony PCG-81313M battery Planning for the development for being the center of government started during the early years of American colonization to the country when they envisioned a well-designed city outside the walls of Intramuros. Sony VGN-FE48E battery

 

Sony PCG-81312M batteryThe strategic location chosen was Bagumbayan, a former town which is now the Rizal Park to become the center of government and a design commission was given to Daniel Burnham to create a master plan for the city patterned after Washington D.C.. These improvements were eventually abandoned under the Commonwealth Government of Manuel L. Quezon. Sony VGN-FE48M battery

 

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A new government center was to be built on the hills northeast of Manila, or what is now Quezon City. Several government agencies have set up their headquarters in Quezon City but several key government offices still reside in Manila. However, many of the plans were substantially altered after the devastation of Manila during World War II and by subsequent administrations. Sony VGN-FE49VN battery

 

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Façade of the Supreme Court of the Philippines

The city, as the capital, still hosts the Office of the President, as well as the president’s official residence. Aside from these, important institutions such as the Supreme Court (Kataas-taasang hukuman), the Court of Appeals, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Sony VPCSD1S1C battery
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the Departments of Budget and Management (Kagawaran ng Pagbabadyet at Pamamahala), Finance, Health, Justice, Labor and Employment, and Tourism still call the city home. Manila also hosts important national institutions such as the National Library, National Archives, National Museum and the Philippine General Hospital. Sony VPCSA2Z9E battery

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Congress previously held office at the Old Congress Building. In 1972, due to declaration of martial law, Congress was dissolved; its successor, the unicameral Batasang Pambansa, held office at the new Batasang Pambansa Complex. Sony SVE14AG18M battery
Sony SVE1711K1EW battery When a new constitution restored the bicameral Congress, the House of Representatives stayed at the Batasang Pambansa Complex, while the Senate remained at the Old Congress Building. In May 1997, Sony SVE14AE15M battery

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Sony SVE1711T1EB batterythe Senate transferred to a new building it shares with the Government Service Insurance System at reclaimed land at Pasay.

The National Library of the Philippines is located within Rizal Park.

The center of education since the colonial period, Manila — particularly Intramuros — is home to several Philippine universities and colleges as well as its oldest ones. It served as the home of the University of Santo Tomas (1611), Colegio de San Juan de Letran (1620), Sony SVE14AA11M battery
Sony SVE151C11M battery and Ateneo de Manila University (1859). Only Colegio de San Juan de Letran (1620) remains at Intramuros; the University of Santo Tomas transferred to a new campus at Sampaloc in 1927, and Ateneo left Intramuros for Loyola Heights, Quezon City (while still retaining “de Manila” in its name) in 1952.

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The University of the City of Manila located at Intramuros, and Universidad De Manila located just outside the walled city, are both owned and operated by the Manila city government. The national government controls the University of the PhilippinesSony SVE171G11M battery
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Manila, the oldest of the University of the Philippines constituent universities and the center of health sciences education in the country.[79] The city is also the site of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, the largest university in the country in terms of student population.[80] Sony SVE171A11M battery

 

The University Belt refers to the area where there is a high concentration or a cluster of colleges and universities in the city and it is commonly understood as the one where the San Miguel, Quiapo and Sampaloc districts meet. Generally, Sony SVE171E13M battery
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it includes the western end of España Boulevard, Nicanor Reyes St. (formerly Morayta St.), the eastern end of Claro M. Recto Avenue (formerly Azcarraga), Legarda Avenue, Mendiola Street, and the different side streets. Each of the colleges and universities found here are at a short walking distance of each other. Sony SVE151G11M battery

Sony SVE151E11M batteryAnother cluster of colleges lies along the southern bank of the Pasig River, mostly at the Intramuros and Ermita districts, and still a smaller cluster is found at the southernmost part of Malate near the border with Pasay. Sony SVE151G13M battery

Sony SVE171E11M batteryThe high concentration of higher learning institutions makes Manila the country’s educational capital.

The Division of the City Schools of Manila, a branch of the Department of Education, refers to the city’s three-tier public education system. It governs the 71 public elementary schools, 32 public high schools[81] and the two city-owned universities. Sony SVE171B11M battery

The city also contains the Manila Science High School, the pilot science high school of the Philippines; the National Museum, where the Spoliarium of Juan Luna is housed; the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, the premier museum of modern and contemporary visual arts; the Museo Pambata, the Children’s Museum, Sony SVE171C11M battery

a place of hands-on discovery and fun learning; and, the National Library, the repository of the country’s printed and recorded cultural heritage and other literary and information resources.

Manila LRT Purple Line’s V. Mapa Station of the Manila Light Rail Transit System. Sony SVE151D11M battery

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One of the more famous modes of transportation in Manila is the jeepney. Patterned after U.S. army jeeps, these have been in use since the years immediately following World War II.[82] Today, the Tamaraw FX, the third generation Toyota Kijang, has begun to compete directly with jeepneys. Along with buses, jeepneys and Tamaraws follow fixed routes for a set price. Sony SVE171A11M battery

 

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On a for-hire basis, the city is served by numerous taxicabs, “tricycles” (motorcycles with sidecars, the Philippine version of the auto rickshaw), and “trisikads” or “sikads” (bicycles with a sidecars, the Philippine version of pedicabs). Sony SVE171E13M battery

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In some areas, especially in the Divisoria district, motorized pedicabs are popular. Spanish-era horse-drawn calesas are still a popular tourist attraction in the streets of Binondo and Intramuros. All types of public transport are privately owned and operated under government franchise. ,sony VPCF12F4E/H battery

 

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The city is serviced by the Manila Light Rail Transit System, popularly known as LRT, as distinct from the Manila Metro Rail Transit System, or MRT, in other parts of Metro Manila. Development of the railway system began in the 1970s under the Marcos administration, making it the first light rail transport in Southeast Asia. ,sony VPCF12M1E/H battery

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,sony VGP-BPS13/B BatteryThe LRT and MRT system has undergone a multi-billion dollar expansion.[83] Two lines provide service to the city: the LRT-1 Line (Yellow Line) that runs along the length of Taft Avenue (R-2) and Rizal Avenue (R-9), and the MRT-2 Line (Purple Line) that runs along Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard (R-6) from Santa Cruz, through Quezon City, up to Santolan in Pasig. ,sony VPCF13E8E battery

 

 

The main terminal of the Philippine National Railways lies within the city. Railways extend north to the city of San Fernando in Pampanga and south to Legazpi City in Albay, though only the southern railway is in operation.

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The Port of Manila, located in the vicinity of Manila Bay, is the chief seaport of the Philippines and it is the premier international shipping gateway to the country. The city is also served by the Pasig River Ferry Service which runs on the Pasig River.

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The city is also served by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport.

In 2006, Forbes magazine ranked Manila “the world’s most congested city”. Manila has become notorious for its frequent traffic jams and high densities.[84,sony PCG-7M1M Battery
,sony PCG-7N1M Battery
,sony PCG-7N2M Battery] Government units have taken efforts to alleviate traffic jams, including a construction of a new flyover at Sampaloc.[85]

Medical facilities[edit]

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The Philippine General Hospital

Manila is headquarters to the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific, the World Health Organization Country Office for the Philippines, main office of the Department of Health, and several private and public hospitals and medical centers. ,sony VPCF13M1E/H battery

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One of the many programs of the Department of Tourism is the promotion of medical tourism in the Philippines. Manila hosts a large number of wellness centers and spa facilities.

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The Manila Health Department, which is responsible for the planning and implementation of the health programs of the city government, operates 44 health centers and lying-in facilities scattered throughout the city.[86] Hospitals in the city are the Manila Doctors’ Hospital, ,sony VPCF24Q1E battery

 

,sony VPCF23M1E batteryUniversity of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital, Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center, Dr. José R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, San Lazaro Hospital, the University of Santo Tomas Hospital and the city-owned Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center.[69] ,sony VPCF23P1E battery

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Aung San Suu Kyi ,Burma and Yangon

Aung San Suu Kyi ,Burma and Yangon

Aung San Suu Kyi MP AC is a Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma. In the 1990 general election, Sony VGN-AR51SRU Battery

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the NLD won 59% of the national votes and 81% (392 of 485) of the seats in Parliament.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] She had, however, already been detained under house arrest before the elections. Sony VGN-AR61E Battery

She remained under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from 20 July 1989 until her most recent release on 13 November 2010,[10] becoming one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners.[11]

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Suu Kyi received the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding by the government of India and the International Simón Bolívar Prize from the government of Venezuela. In 2007, the Government of Canada made her an honorary citizen of that country,[1Sony VGN-AR61MR Battery

 

Sony VGN-AR11MR Battery2] the fourth person ever to receive the honour.[13] In 2011, she was awarded the Wallenberg Medal.[1Sony VGN-AR61S Battery

 

Sony VGN-AR11M Battery4] On 19 September 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was also presented with the Congressional Gold Medal, which is, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour in the United States.[15]

 

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On 1 April 2012, her party, the National League for Democracy, announced that she was elected to the Pyithu Hluttaw, the lower house of the Burmese parliament, representing the constituency of Kawhmu;[16Sony VGN-AR31SR Battery

 

Sony VGN-AR31MR Battery] her party also won 43 of the 45 vacant seats in the lower house.[17] The election results were confirmed by the official electoral commission the following day.[18]

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On 6 June 2013, Suu Kyi announced on the World Economic Forum’s website that she wants to run for the presidency in Myanmar’s 2015 elections.[19]

A family portrait, with Aung San Suu Kyi (in white) as a toddler, taken in 1947, shortly before her father’s assassination. Sony VGN-AR41L Battery

 

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Aung San Suu Kyi derives her name from three relatives: “Aung San” from her father, “Suu” from her paternal grandmother, and “Kyi” from her mother Khin Kyi.[20] Sony VGN-AR41MR Battery

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Sony VGN-AR41SR Battery She is frequently called Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Daw is not part of her name, but is an honorific, similar to madame, for older, revered women, literally meaning “aunt”.[2Sony VGN-AR41M Battery

 

Sony VGN-AR21MR Battery1] She is also often referred to as Daw Suu by the Burmese (or Amay Suu, lit. “Mother Suu,” by some followers),[22][23] or “Aunty Suu”, and as Dr. Suu Kyi,[24] Ms. Suu Kyi, or Miss Suu Kyi by the foreign media. However, like other Burmese, she has no surname (see Burmese names). Sony VGN-FW21L Battery

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A portrait of Khin Kyi and her family in 1948. Aung San Suu Kyi is seated on the floor.

Aung San Suu Kyi was born on 19 June 1945 in Rangoon (now named Yangon).[25] Her father, Aung San, founded the modern Burmese army and negotiated Burma’s independence from the British Empire in 1947; Sony VGN-FW21Z Battery

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he was assassinated by his rivals in the same year. She grew up with her mother, Khin Kyi, and two brothers, Aung San Lin and Aung San Oo, in Rangoon. Aung San Lin died at the age of eight, when he drowned in an ornamental lake on the grounds of the house.[20] Her elder brother emigrated to San Diego, California, Sony VGN-FW31M Battery

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Sony VGN-NW20EF/P Battery becoming a United States citizen.[20] After Aung San Lin’s death, the family moved to a house by Inya Lake where Suu Kyi met people of very different backgrounds, political views and religions.[2Sony VGN-FW11ZU Battery

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6] She was educated in Methodist English High School (now Basic Education High School No. 1 Dagon) for much of her childhood in Burma, where she was noted as having a talent for learning languages.[27] She is a Theravada Buddhist.

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Aung San Suu Kyi at the age of six.

Suu Kyi’s mother, Khin Kyi, gained prominence as a political figure in the newly formed Burmese government. She was appointed Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960, and Aung San Suu Kyi followed her there. Sony VGN-FW3ZJ Battery

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Sony VGN-NW31ZF/S BatteryShe studied in the Convent of Jesus and Mary School in New Delhi, and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi with a degree in politics in 1964.[25][28] Suu Kyi continued her education at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, obtaining a B.A. degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1969. Sony VGN-FW41J/H Battery

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Sony VGN-NW21ZF Battery After graduating, she lived in New York City with a family friend Ma Than E, who was once a popular Burmese pop singer.[29] She worked at the United Nations for three years, primarily on budget matters, writing daily to her future husband, Dr. Michael Aris.[30] In late 1971, Sony VGN-FW46M Battery

 

Sony VGN-NW21JF BatteryAung San Suu Kyi married Aris, a scholar of Tibetan culture, living abroad in Bhutan.[25] The following year she gave birth to their first son, Alexander Aris, in London; their second son, Kim, was born in 1977. Sony VGN-FW51 Battery

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Sony VGN-NW21EF BatteryBetween 1985 and 1987, Suu Kyi was working toward an M.Phil degree in Burmese literature as a research student at SOAS the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.[31Sony VGN-FW51MF/H Battery

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Sony VGN-NW21MF Battery][32] She was elected as an Honorary Fellow of SOAS in 1990.[25] For two years she was a Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) in Shimla, India. She also worked for the government of the Union of Burma.

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In 1988 Suu Kyi returned to Burma, at first to tend for her ailing mother but later to lead the pro-democracy movement. Aris’ visit in Christmas 1995 turned out to be the last time that he and Suu Kyi met, as Suu Kyi remained in Burma and the Burmese dictatorship denied him any further entry visas.[2Sony VGN-FW31E Battery

 

Sony VGN-FW54S Battery5] Aris was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997 which was later found to be terminal. Despite appeals from prominent figures and organizations, including the United States, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Pope John Paul II, the Burmese government would not grant Aris a visa, Sony VGN-FW31J Battery

 

Sony VGN-FW54J Battery saying that they did not have the facilities to care for him, and instead urged Aung San Suu Kyi to leave the country to visit him. She was at that time temporarily free from house arrest but was unwilling to depart, Sony VGN-FW44MR Battery

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Sony VGN-FW56ZR Battery fearing that she would be refused re-entry if she left, as she did not trust the military junta’s assurance that she could return.[33]

 

Aris died on his 53rd birthday on 27 March 1999. Since 1989, when his wife was first placed under house arrest, he had seen her only five times, the last of which was for Christmas in 1995.

 

Sony VGN-FW48E/H BatteryShe was also separated from her children, who live in the United Kingdom, but starting in 2011, they have visited her in Burma.[34] Sony VGN-FW11SR Battery

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On 2 May 2008, after Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, Suu Kyi lost the roof of her house and lived in virtual darkness after losing electricity in her dilapidated lakeside residence. She used candles at night as she was not provided any generator set.[35Sony VGN-FW11ZU Battery

 

Sony VGN-FW46Z Battery] Plans to renovate and repair the house were announced in August 2009.[36] Suu Kyi was released from house arrest on 13 November 2010.[37]

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Aung San Suu Kyi arrives to give a speech to the supporters during the 2012 by-election campaign at her constituency Kawhmu township, Myanmar on 22 March 2012.

Political beginnings[edit]

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Coincident with Aung San Suu Kyi’s return to Burma in 1988, the long-time military leader of Burma and head of the ruling party, General Ne Win, stepped down. Mass demonstrations for democracy followed that event on 8 August 1988 (8–8–88, Sony VGN-FW46S Battery

a day seen as auspicious), which were violently suppressed in what came to be known as the 8888 Uprising. On 26 August 1988, she addressed half a million people at a mass rally in front of the Shwedagon Pagoda in the capital, calling for a democratic government.[25Sony PCG-6Z2M battery

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Sony PCG-6X2M battery,

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] However in September, a new military junta took power.

 

Influenced[38] by both Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence[39][40] and more specifically by Buddhist concepts,[41] Aung San Suu Kyi entered politics to work for democratisation, helped found the National League for Democracy on 27 September 1988,[42] but was put under house arrest on 20 July 1989. Offered freedom if she left the country, she refused. Sony PCG-4Q2M battery,

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One of her most famous speeches was Freedom From Fear, which began: “It is not power that corrupts, but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”[43]

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She also believes fear spurs many world leaders to lose sight of their purpose. “Government leaders are amazing”, she once said. “So often it seems they are the last to know what the people want.”[44]

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Political career[edit]

 

 

 

Suu Kyi meets with Edgardo Boeninger of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in 1995.

1990 general election[edit]

In 1990, the military junta called a general election, in which the National League for Democracy (NLD) received 59% of the votes, guaranteeing NLD 80% of the parliament seats. Some claim that Aung San Suu Kyi would have assumed the office of Prime Minister;[45] in fact, however, as she was not permitted, Sony PCG-71D14M battery

 

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she did not stand as a candidate in the elections (although being a MP is not a strict prerequisite for becoming PM in most parliamentary systems). Instead, the results were nullified and the military refused to hand over power, Sony PCG-61511M battery

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Sony PCG-91112M battery resulting in an international outcry. Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest at her home on University Avenue (16°49′32″N 96°9′1″E) in Rangoon, during which time she was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990,

Sony PCG-71511M battery and the Nobel Peace Prize the year after. Her sons Alexander and Kim accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on her behalf. Aung San Suu Kyi used the Nobel Peace Prize’s 1.3 million USD prize money to establish a health and education trust for the Burmese people.[46] Around this time, Sony PCG-61712M battery

 

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Suu Kyi chose non-violence as an expedient political tactic, stating in 2007, “I do not hold to non-violence for moral reasons, but for political and practical reasons,”[47] however, nonviolent action as well as civil resistance in lieu of armed conflict are also political tactics in keeping with the overall philosophy of her Theravada Buddhist religion. Sony PCG-61813M battery

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1996 attack[edit]

On 9 November 1996, the motorcade that she was traveling in with other National League for Democracy leaders Tin Oo and U Kyi Maung, was attacked in Yangon. About 200 men swooped down on the motorcade, Sony PCG-71511M battery

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wielding metal chains, metal batons, stones and other weapons. The car that Aung San Suu Kyi was in had its rear window smashed, and the car with Tin Oo and U Kyi Maung had its rear window and two backdoor windows shattered. Sony PCG-91311M battery

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Sony PCG-61611M batteryIt is believed the offenders were members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) who were allegedly paid 500 kyats (@ USD $0.50) each to participate. Sony PCG-71316M battery

 

Sony PCG-61511M batteryThe NLD lodged an official complaint with the police, and according to reports the government launched an investigation, but no action was taken. (Amnesty International 120297)[48] Sony SVE151D11M battery

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House arrest[edit]

Aung San Suu Kyi has been placed under house arrest for 15 of the past 21 years, on numerous occasions, since she began her political career,[4Sony PCG-71318M battery

 

 

Sony PCG-71D14M battery9] during which time she was prevented from meeting her party supporters and international visitors. In an interview, Suu Kyi said that while under house arrest she spent her time reading philosophy, Sony PCG-6Z2M battery,

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Sony PCG-71C11M battery politics and biographies that her husband had sent her.[50] She also passed the time playing the piano, and was occasionally allowed visits from foreign diplomats as well as from her personal physician.[51]

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The media were also prevented from visiting Suu Kyi, as occurred in 1998 when journalist Maurizio Giuliano, after photographing her, was stopped by customs officials who then confiscated all his films, tapes and some notes.[52Sony PCG-4Q2M battery

Sony PCG-4R1M battery] In contrast, Suu Kyi did have visits from government representatives, such as during her autumn 1994 house arrest when she met the leader of Burma, General Than Shwe and General Khin Nyunt on 20 September in the first meeting since she had been placed in detention.[2Sony VPCSA2Z9E battery

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5] On several occasions during Suu Kyi’s house arrest, she had periods of poor health and as a result was hospitalized.[53]

 

The Burmese government detained and kept Suu Kyi imprisoned because it viewed her as someone “likely to undermine the community peace and stability” of the country, and used both Article 10(a) and 10(b) of the 1975 State Protection Act (granting the government the power to imprison people for up to five years without a trial),[5Sony SVE14AG18M battery

Sony SVE14AE15M battery
Sony SVE1711K1EW battery4] and Section 22 of the “Law to Safeguard the State Against the Dangers of Those Desiring to Cause Subversive Acts” as legal tools against her.[55] She continuously appealed her detention,[56] and many nations and figures continued to call for her release and that of 2,100 other political prisoners in the country.[57Sony SVE14AJ15M battery

Sony SVE14AA11M battery
Sony SVE1711T1EB battery][58] On 12 November 2010, days after the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won elections conducted after a gap of 20 years, the junta finally agreed to sign orders allowing Suu Kyi’s release,[5

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9] and Suu Kyi’s house arrest term came to an end on 13 November 2010.

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United Nations involvement[edit]

The United Nations (UN) has attempted to facilitate dialogue between the junta and Suu Kyi.[25] On 6 May 2002, following secret confidence-building negotiations led by the UN, the government released her; Sony SVE171G11M battery
Sony SVE151C11M batterya government spokesman said that she was free to move “because we are confident that we can trust each other”. Aung San Suu Kyi proclaimed “a new dawn for the country”.Sony SVE171A11M battery
Sony SVE171A11M battery However on 30 May 2003 in an incident similar to the 1996 attack on her, a government-sponsored mob attacked her caravan in the northern village of Depayin, murdering and wounding many of her supporters.[60] Aung San Suu Kyi fled the scene with the help of her driver, Ko Kyaw Soe Lin, Sony SVE171E13M battery
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but was arrested upon reaching Ye-U. The government imprisoned her at Insein Prison in Rangoon. After she underwent a hysterectomy in September 2003,[61] the government again placed her under house arrest in Rangoon.

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The results from the UN facilitation have been mixed; Razali Ismail, UN special envoy to Burma, met with Aung San Suu Kyi. Ismail resigned from his post the following year, partly because he was denied re-entry to Burma on several occasions.[6Sony SVE151G11M battery

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2] Several years later in 2006, Ibrahim Gambari, UN Undersecretary-General (USG) of Department of Political Affairs, met with Aung San Suu Kyi, the first visit by a foreign official since 2004.[63] He also met with Suu Kyi later the same year.[64Sony SVE151G13M battery] On 2 October 2007 Gambari returned to talk to her again after seeing Than Shwe and other members of the senior leadership in Naypyidaw.[65] State television broadcast Suu Kyi with Gambari, Sony SVE171B11M battery
Sony SVE171C11M battery stating that they had met twice. This was Suu Kyi’s first appearance in state media in the four years since her current detention began.[66]

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The United Nations Working Group for Arbitrary Detention published an Opinion that Aung San Suu Kyi’s deprivation of liberty was arbitrary and in contravention of Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, Sony SVS13A1U9ES battery
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Sony SVS1511V9ES battery and requested that the authorities in Burma set her free, but the authorities ignored the request at that time.[67] The U.N. report said that according to the Burmese Government’s reply, Sony SVS131B12M battery

Sony SVS1511V9EB battery “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has not been arrested, but has only been taken into protective custody, for her own safety”, and while “it could have instituted legal action against her under the country’s domestic legislation .. Sony SVS151A11M battery
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Sony SVS1511T9ES battery. it has preferred to adopt a magnanimous attitude, and is providing her with protection in her own interests.”[67]

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Such claims were rejected by Brig-General Khin Yi, Chief of Myanmar Police Force (MPF). On 18 January 2007, the state-run paper New Light of Myanmar accused Suu Kyi of tax evasion for spending her Nobel Prize money outside of the country. Sony SVS1311P9EB battery
Sony SVS1511L3ES battery
Sony SVS1511M3EW battery The accusation followed the defeat of a US-sponsored United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Burma as a threat to international security; the resolution was defeated because of strong opposition from China, Sony VPCSE2V9E battery
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which has strong ties with the military junta (China later voted against the resolution, along with Russia and South Africa).[68]

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In November 2007, it was reported that Suu Kyi would meet her political allies National League for Democracy along with a government minister. The ruling junta made the official announcement on stateSony PCG-4121EM battery

Sony PCG-41214M battery  TV and radio just hours after UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari ended his second visit to Burma. The NLD confirmed that it had received the invitation to hold talks with Suu Kyi.[69] However, the process delivered few concrete results.

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On 3 July 2009, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon went to Burma to pressure the junta into releasing Suu Kyi and to institute democratic reform. However, on departing from Burma, Ban Ki-moon said he was Sony PCG-41213M battery
Sony PCG-41218M battery“disappointed” with the visit after junta leader Than Shwe refused permission for him to visit Suu Kyi, citing her ongoing trial. Ban said he was “deeply disappointed that they have missed a very important opportunity.”[70] Sony PCG-41212M battery

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On 22 September 2007, although still under house arrest, Suu Kyi made a brief public appearance at the gate of her residence in Yangon to accept the blessings of Buddhist monks who were marching in support of human rights.[7Sony PCG-41216M battery

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Sony VPCZ21Q9E battery7] It was reported that she had been moved the following day to Insein Prison (where she had been detained in 2003),[7Sony PCG-41218M battery

 

Sony VPCZ13Z9E/X battery8][79][80][81] but meetings with UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari near her Rangoon home on 30 September and 2 October established that she remained under house arrest.[82][83

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U.S. Senator Jim Webb visiting Suu Kyi in 2009. Webb negotiated the release of John Yettaw, the man who trespassed in Suu Kyi's home, resulting in her arrest and conviction with three years' hard labour. Sony SVE151G11M battery

 

On 3 May 2009, an American man, identified as John Yettaw, swam across Inya Lake to her house uninvited and was arrested when he made his return trip three days later.[84] He had attempted to make a similar trip two years earlier, Sony PCG-31114M battery

 

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Sony VPCZ13M9E/B batterybut for unknown reasons was turned away.[85] He later claimed at trial that he was motivated by a divine vision requiring him to notify her of an impending terrorist assassination attempt.[86Sony PCG-41313M battery

Sony PCG-41314M battery

 

Sony VPCZ13 battery] On 13 May, Suu Kyi was arrested for violating the terms of her house arrest because the swimmer, who pleaded exhaustion, was allowed to stay in her house for two days before he attempted the swim back. Sony PCG-41315M battery

 

Sony PCG-6124M batterySuu Kyi was later taken to Insein Prison, where she could have faced up to five years confinement for the intrusion.[8Sony PCG-4R2M battery

 

Sony PCG-6123M battery7] The trial of Suu Kyi and her two maids began on 18 May and a small number of protesters gathered outside.[88][ Sony PCG-4R2M battery

 

Sony PCG-6122M battery89] Diplomats and journalists were barred from attending the trial; however, on one occasion, several diplomats from Russia, Sony PCG-4U2M battery

 

Sony PCG-6121M batteryThailand and Singapore and journalists were allowed to meet Suu Kyi.[90] The prosecution had originally planned to call 22 witnesses.[91] It also accused John Yettaw of embarrassing the country.[9Sony SVE151G13M battery

 

Sony SVE14AE15M battery2] During the ongoing defence case, Suu Kyi said she was innocent. The defence was allowed to call only one witness (out of four), while the prosecution was permitted to call 14 witnesses. Sony PCG-6Z4M battery

Sony PCG-6112M batteryThe court rejected two character witnesses, NLD members Tin Oo and Win Tin, and permitted the defence to call only a legal expert.[93] According to one unconfirmed report, the junta was planning to, once again, place her in detention, this time in a military base outside the city.[9Sony VPCZ11 battery

 

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4] In a separate trial, Yettaw said he swam to Suu Kyi’s house to warn her that her life was “in danger”.[95] The national police chief later confirmed that Yettaw was the “main culprit” in the case filed against Suu Kyi.[ Sony VPCZ11X9E battery

 

Sony VPCZ12Z9E/B battery96] According to aides, Suu Kyi spent her 64th birthday in jail sharing biryani rice and chocolate cake with her guards.[97]

 

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Her arrest and subsequent trial received worldwide condemnation by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Security Council,[98] Western governments,[99] South Africa,[100] Japan[Sony VPCZ11X9E/B battery

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101] and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Burma is a member.[102] The Burmese government strongly condemned the statement, as it created an “unsound tradition”[1Sony VPCZ11Z9E/B battery

 

Sony VPCZ12X9E/B battery03] and criticised Thailand for meddling in its internal affairs.[104] The Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win was quoted in the state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar as saying that the incident “was trumped up to intensify international pressure on Burma by Sony VPCZ12C7E/B battery

 

Sony VPCZ12V9E/B battery internal and external anti-government elements who do not wish to see the positive changes in those countries’ policies toward Burma”.[92] Ban responded to an international campaign[105] by flying to Burma to negotiate, but Than Shwe rejected all of his requests.[106]

 

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On 11 August 2009 the trial concluded with Suu Kyi being sentenced to imprisonment for three years with hard labour. This sentence was commuted by the military rulers to further house arrest of 18 months.[ Sony VPCZ12M9E battery

Sony VPCZ12M9E/B battery107] On 14 August, U.S. Senator Jim Webb visited Burma, visiting with junta leader Gen. Than Shwe and later with Suu Kyi. During the visit, Webb negotiated Yettaw’s release and deportation from Burma.[10Sony PCG-6P2M Battery

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8] Following the verdict of the trial, lawyers of Suu Kyi said they would appeal against the 18-month sentence.[1Sony PCG-6R1M Battery

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Sony PCG-8X1M Battery09] On 18 August, United States President Barack Obama asked the country’s military leadership to set free all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi.[110] In her appeal, Sony PCG-6D1M Battery

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Sony PCG-791M BatteryAung San Suu Kyi had argued that the conviction was unwarranted. However, her appeal against the August sentence was rejected by a Burmese court on 2 October 2009. Although the court accepted the argument that the 1974 constitution, Sony SVE171B11M battery

 

Sony SVE151E11M batteryunder which she had been charged, was null and void, it also said the provisions of the 1975 security law, under which she has been kept under house arrest, remained in force. Sony PCG-6G1M Battery

 

Sony PCG-7X1M Battery The verdict effectively meant that she would be unable to participate in the elections scheduled to take place in 2010 – the first in Burma in two decades. Her lawyer stated that her legal team would pursue a new appeal within 60 days.[111]

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2009: International pressure for release and 2010 Burmese general election[edit]

It was announced prior to the Burmese general election that Aung San Suu Kyi may be released “so she can organize her party,”[112Sony PCG-6G2M Battery

 

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Sony PCG-7R1M Battery] However, Suu Kyi was not allowed to run.[113] On 1 October 2010 the government announced that she would be released on 13 November 2010.[114]

 

Burma’s relaxing stance, such as releasing political prisoners, was influenced[citation needed] in the wake of successful recent diplomatic visits by the US and other democratic governments, urging or encouraging the Burmese towards democratic reform. Sony PCG-6J1M Battery

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Sony PCG-7N1M BatteryU.S. President Barack Obama personally advocated the release of all political prisoners, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, during the US-ASEAN Summit of 2009.[115]

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Democratic governments[which?] hoped that successful general elections would be an optimistic indicator of the Burmese government’s sincerity towards eventual democracy.[116] The Hatoyama government Sony PCG-6L1M Battery

 

Sony PCG-7M1M Battery which spent 2.82 billion yen in 2008, has promised more Japanese foreign aid to encourage Burma to release Aung San Suu Kyi in time for the elections; and to continue moving towards democracy and the rule of law.[116][117]

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In a personal letter to Suu Kyi, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown cautioned the Burmese government of the potential consequences of rigging elections as “condemning Burma to more years of diplomatic isolation and economic stagnation”.[118]

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The Burmese government has been granting Suu Kyi varying degrees of freedom throughout late 2009, in response to international pressure[citation needed]. She has met with many heads of state, and opened a dialog with the Minister of Labor Aung Kyi (not to be confused with Aung San Suu Kyi).[119] Sony PCG-8V1M Battery

 

On the evening of 13 November 2010, Suu Kyi was released from house arrest.[121] This was the date her detention had been set to expire according to a court ruling in August 2009[122] and came six days after Sony PCG-8V2M Battery

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Sony PCG-7H2M Battery a widely criticised general election. She appeared in front of a crowd of her supporters, who rushed to her house in Rangoon when nearby barricades were removed by the security forces. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate had been detained for 15 of the past 21 years.[123] The government newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported the release positively,[1Sony PCG-8W2M Battery

 

Sony PCG-7H1M Battery24] saying she had been granted a pardon after serving her sentence “in good conduct”.[125] The New York Times suggested that the military government may have released Suu Kyi because it felt it was in a confident position to control her supporters after the election.[12Sony PCG-7A1M Battery

4] The role that Suu Kyi will play in the future of democracy in Burma remains a subject of much debate.

 

Her son Kim Aris was granted a visa in November 2010 to see his mother shortly after her release, for the first time in 10 years.[ Sony PCG-7D1M Battery

Sony PCG-7G1M Battery126] He visited again in 5 July 2011, to accompany her on a trip to Bagan, her first trip outside Yangon since 2003.[127] Her son visited again in 8 August 2011, to accompany her on a trip to Pegu, her second trip.[128]

 

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Discussions were held between Suu Kyi and the Burmese government during 2011, which led to a number of official gestures to meet her demands. In October, around a tenth of Burma’s political prisoners were freed in an amnesty and trade unions were legalised.[129][130]

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In November 2011, following a meeting of its leaders, the NLD announced its intention to re-register as a political party in order to contend 48 by-elections necessitated by the promotion of parliamentarians to ministerial rank.[1Sony VGP-BPS13B/Q battery

 

Sony VGP-BPL21 battery31] Following the decision, Suu Kyi held a telephone conference with U.S. President Barack Obama, in which it was agreed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would make a visit to BurmaSony VGP-BPS13/Q battery

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Sony VGP-BPS13B/B battery, a move received with caution by Burma’s ally China.[132] On 1 December 2011, Suu Kyi met with Hillary Clinton at the residence of the top-ranking US diplomat in Yangon.[133]

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On 21 December 2011, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra met Suu Kyi in Yangoon, becoming Suu Kyi’s “first-ever meeting with the leader of a foreign country”.[134]

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On 5 January 2012, British Foreign Minister William Hague met Aung San Suu Kyi and his Burmese counterpart. Sony VGP-BPS13B/S battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS13AB batteryThis represented a significant visit for Suu Kyi and Burma. Suu Kyi studied in the UK and maintains many ties there, whilst Britain is Burma’s largest bilateral donor. Aung San Suu Kyi is on her visit to Europe and is due to visit the Swiss parliament and collect her 1991 Nobel Prize in Oslo.[135] Sony VGP-BPS13A battery

 

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2012 by-elections[edit]

In December 2011, there was speculation that Suu Kyi would run in the 2012 national by-elections to fill vacant seats.[13Sony VGP-BPS13A/S battery

Sony VGP-BPS13AS battery

Sony VGP-BPS13A/Q battery6] On 18 January 2012, Suu Kyi formally registered to contest a Pyithu Hluttaw (lower house) seat in the Kawhmu Township constituency in special parliamentary elections to be held on 1 April 2012.[137Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

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Sony VGP-BPS21A/B battery [138] The seat was previously held by Soe Tint, who vacated it after being appointed Construction Deputy Minister, in the 2010 election.[139] She ran against Union Solidarity and Development Party candidate Soe Min, a retired army physician and native of Twante Township.[140]

 

Sony VGP-BPS21B batteryAung San Suu Kyi (Center) gives a speech to the supporters during the 2012 by-election campaign at her constituency Kawhmu township, Myanmar on 22 March 2012.

On 3 March 2012, Sony VGP-BPS13/Q battery

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Sony VGP-BPS21A batteryat a large campaign rally in Mandalay, Suu Kyi unexpectedly left after 15 minutes, because of exhaustion and airsickness.[141]

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In an official campaign speech broadcast on Burmese state television’s MRTV on 14 March 2012, Suu Kyi publicly campaigned for reform of the 2008 Constitution, removal of restrictive laws, more adequate protections for people’s democratic rights, and establishment of an independent judiciary.[14Sony VGP-BPS13A battery

Sony VGP-BPS13A/B battery

 

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2] The speech was leaked online a day before it was broadcast.[143] A paragraph in the speech, focusing on the Tatmadaw’s repression by means of law, was censored by authorities.[144]

 

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Suu Kyi has also called for international media to monitor the upcoming by-elections, while publicly pointing out irregularities in official voter lists, which include deceased individuals and exclude other eligible voters in the contested constituencies.[145][146] On 21 March 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was quoted as saying “Fraud and rule violations are continuing and we can even say they are increasing.”[147]

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When asked whether she would assume a ministerial post if given the opportunity, she said the following:[148]

 

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I can tell you one thing – that under the present constitution, if you become a member of the government you have to vacate your seat in the national assembly. And I am not working so hard to get into parliament simply to vacate my seat.

 

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On 26 March 2012, Suu Kyi suspended her nationwide campaign tour early, after a campaign rally in Myeik (Mergui), a coastal town in the south, citing health problems due to exhaustion and hot weather.[149]

 

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On 1 April 2012, the NLD announced that Suu Kyi had won the vote for a seat in Parliament.[150] A news broadcast on state-run MRTV, reading the announcements of the Union Election Commission,

 

Sony VGP-BPS21 batteryconfirmed her victory, as well as her party’s victory in 43 of the 45 contested seats, officially making Suu Kyi the Leader of the Opposition in the lower house.[151]

 

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Although she and other MP-elects were expected to take office on 23 April when the Hluttaws resume session, National League for Democracy MP-elects, including Suu Kyi, said they might not take their oaths because of its wording; in its present form, parliamentarians must vow to “safeguard” the constitution.[15Sony VGP-BPS13A/S battery

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Sony VGP-BPL13 battery2][153] In an address on Radio Free Asia, she said “We don’t mean we will not attend the parliament, we mean we will attend only after taking the oath… Changing that wording in the oath is also in conformity with the Constitution. I don’t expect there will be any difficulty in doing it.”[154] Sony VGP-BPS13AS battery

 

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On 2 May 2012, National League for Democracy MP-elects, including Aung San Suu Kyi, took their oaths and took office, though the wording of the oath was not changed.[155] According to the Los Angeles Times, Sony VGP-BPS13B battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS13B/S battery“Suu Kyi and her colleagues decided they could do more by joining as lawmakers than maintaining their boycott on principle.”[155] On 9 July 2012, she attended the Parliament for the first time as a lawmaker.[156]

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On 6 July 2012, Suu Kyi announced on the World Economic Forum’s website that she wants to run for the presidency in Myanmar’s 2015 elections.[1Sony VGN-FE11E battery

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9] The current Constitution, which came into effect in 2008, bars her from the presidency because she is the widow and mother of foreigners. These measures seem to have been written in part to prevent her ever getting there.[157]

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Ethnic controversy[edit]

 

Some activists criticised Aung San Suu Kyi for her silence on the 2012 Rakhine State riots.[158] After receiving a peace prize, she told reporters she did not know if the Rohingya could be regarded as Burmese citizens.[1Sony VGN-FE11SR battery

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Sony PCG-81411M battery59] Under the 1982 Citizenship Law, most Rohingya are unable to qualify for Burmese citizenship. As such, they are treated as illegal immigrants, with restrictions on their movement and withholding of land rights, education and public service.[158] Some describe her stance as politically motivated.[ Sony VGN-FE21H battery

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Sony PCG-81313M battery158] However she said that she wanted to work towards reconciliation and that she cannot take sides as “violence has been committed by both sides.”[160] According to The Economist, her “halo has even slipped among foreign human-rights lobbyists, disappointed at her failure to make a clear stand on behalf of the Rohingya minority.”

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However, she has spoken out “against a ban on Rohingya families near the Bangladeshi border having more than two children.”[161]

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Asked what democratic models Myanmar could look to, she said: “We have many, many lessons to learn from various places, not just the Asian countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Mongolia and Indonesia.” Sony VGN-FE31B battery

 

Sony PCG-81311M batteryShe also cited “the eastern European countries, which made the transition from communist autocracy to democracy in the 1980s and 1990s, and the Latin American countries, whichSony VGN-FE31H battery

 

Sony PCG-81213M battery made the transition from military governments. “And we cannot of course forget South Africa, because although it wasn’t a military regime, it was certainly an authoritarian regime.” She added: “We wish to learn from everybody who has achieved a transition to democracy, and also . Sony VGN-FE31HR battery

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Sony PCG-81212M battery.. our great strong point is that, because we are so far behind everybody else, we can also learn which mistakes we should avoid.”[162]

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In a nod to the current deep US political divide between Republicans led by Mitt Romney and the Democrats of Obama—battling to win the Presidential election on 6 November—she stressed with a smile “Those of you who are familiar with American politics I’m sure understand the need for negotiated compromise.”[162Sony VGN-FE31ZR battery

 

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Aung San Suu Kyi greeting supporters from Bago State in 2011

Aung San Suu Kyi has received vocal support from Western nations in Europe,[163] Australia[163] and North[164] and South America, as well as India,[5] Israel,[165] Japan[166] the Philippines and South Korea.[1Sony VGN-FE41E battery

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Sony VGN-FE49VN battery67] In December 2007, the US House of Representatives voted unanimously 400–0 to award Aung San Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal; the Senate concurred on 25 April 2008.[168] On 6 May 2008, President George Bush signed legislation awarding Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal.[1Sony VGN-FE41MR battery

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Sony VGN-FE48M battery69] She is the first recipient in American history to receive the prize while imprisoned. More recently, there has been growing criticism of her detention by Burma’s neighbours in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, particularly from Indonesia,[170] Thailand,[171] Sony VGN-FE41Z battery

Sony VGN-FE48E battery the Philippines[172][173] and Singapore.[174] At one point Malaysia warned Burma that it faced expulsion from ASEAN as a result of the detention of Suu Kyi.[175] Other nations including South Africa,[176] Bangladesh[1Sony VGN-FE11E battery

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Sony PCG-81412M battery77] and the Maldives[178] also called for her release. The United Nations has urged the country to move towards inclusive national reconciliation, the restoration of democracy, and full respect for human rights.[1Sony VGN-FE11M battery

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79] In December 2008, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the human rights situation in Burma and calling for Suu Kyi’s release—80 countries voting for the resolution, 25 against and 45 abstentions.[ Sony VGN-FE11S battery

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Sony PCG-81313M battery180] Other nations, such as China and Russia, are less critical of the regime and prefer to cooperate only on economic matters.[181] Indonesia has urged China to push Burma for reforms.[182Sony VGN-FE21B battery

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Sony PCG-81312M battery] However, Samak Sundaravej, former Prime Minister of Thailand, criticised the amount of support for Suu Kyi, saying that “Europe uses Aung San Suu Kyi as a tool. If it’s not related to Aung San Suu Kyi, you can have deeper discussions with Myanmar.”[183]

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Vietnam, however, did not support calls by other ASEAN member states for Myanmar to free Aung San Suu Kyi, state media reported Friday, 14 August 2009.[184Sony VGN-FE21S battery

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] The state-run Việt Nam News said Vietnam had no criticism of Myanmar’s decision 11 August 2009 to place Suu Kyi under house arrest for the next 18 months, effectively barring her from elections scheduled for 2010. “It is our view that the Aung San Suu Kyi trial is an internal affair of Myanmar

 

Sony PCG-81311M battery Vietnamese government spokesman Le Dung stated on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In contrast with other ASEAN member states, Dung said Vietnam has always supported Myanmar and hopes it will continue to implement the “roadmap to democracy” outlined by its government.[185]

“,Sony VGN-FE31B battery

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Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. The decision of the Nobel Committee mentions:[186]

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Sony PCG-81213M battery…Suu Kyi’s struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades. She has become an important symbol in the struggle against oppression…

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…In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 1991 to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honour this woman for her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means. Sony VGN-FE31Z battery

 

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—Oslo, 14 October 1991

In 1995 Aung San Suu Kyi delivered the keynote address at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.[187] Sony VGN-FE31ZR battery

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Nobel Peace Prize winners (Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Shirin Ebadi, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Mairead Corrigan, Rigoberta Menchú, Prof. Elie Wiesel, U.S. President Barack Obama, Betty Williams, Sony VGN-FE41M battery

 

Sony PCG-81112M batteryJody Williams and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter) called for the rulers of Burma to release Suu Kyi in order to “create the necessary conditions for a genuine dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all concerned parties Sony VGN-FE41MR battery

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Sony VGN-FE49VN battery and ethnic groups in order to achieve an inclusive national reconciliation with the direct support of the United Nations.”[25] Sony VGN-FE41Z battery

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Sony VGN-FE48M battery Some of the money she received as part of the award helps fund London-based charity Prospect Burma, which provides higher education grants to Burmese students.[188]

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On 16 June 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was finally able to deliver her Nobel acceptance speech (Nobel lecture) at Oslo’s City Hall, two decades after being awarded the peace prize.[189][190]

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Sony PCG-41412L BatterySuu Kyi meeting Barack Obama at the White House in September 2012

In September 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi received in person the United States Congressional Gold Medal, which is the highest Congressional award. Although she was awarded this medal in 2008, at the time she was under house arrest, Sony SVS131B11L Battery

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Sony PCG-41411L Batteryand was unable to receive the medal. Aung San Suu Kyi was greeted with bipartisan support at Congress, as part of a coast-to-coast tour in the United States. In addition, Aung San Suu Kyi met President Barack Obama at the White House. The experience was described by Aung San Suu Kyi as “one of the most moving days of my life.”[191Sony SVS151B11L Battery

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Burma officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, commonly shortened to Myanmar is a sovereign state in Southeast Asia bordered by China, Thailand, India, Laos and Bangladesh. One-third of Burma's total perimeter of 1,930 kilometres (1,200 miles) Sony SVS13AA11L Battery
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forms an uninterrupted coastline along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Its population of over 60 million makes it the world's 24th most populous country[1] and, at 676,578 square kilometres (261,227 sq mi), it is the world’s 40th largest country and the second largest in Southeast Asia. Sony SVS131B11L Battery

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Early civilizations in Burma included the Tibeto-Burman speaking Pyu in Upper Burma and the Mon in Lower Burma.[11Sony SVS151A11L Battery

Sony PCG-41412L Battery] In the 9th century, the Burmans of the Kingdom of Nanzhao entered the upper Irrawaddy valley and, following the establishment of the Pagan Empire in the 1050s, the Burmese language and culture slowly became dominant in the country. Sony SVS151B11L Battery

Sony PCG-41411L BatteryDuring this period, Theravada Buddhism gradually became the predominant religion of the country. The Pagan Empire fell due to the Mongol invasions (1277–1301), Sony PCG-4121DL Battery

 

Sony PCG-41218L Battery and several warring states emerged. Sony SVS151G1GL Battery

Sony PCG-41218L Battery In the second half of the 16th century, reunified by the Taungoo Dynasty, the country was for a brief period the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia.[1Sony PCG-4121EL Battery

 

Sony PCG-41217L Battery2] The early 19th century Konbaung Dynasty ruled over an area that included modern Burma and briefly controlled Manipur and Assam as well. Sony PCG-4121DL Battery
The British conquered Burma after three Anglo-Burmese Wars in the 19th century and the country became a British colony (a part of India until 1937 and then a separately administered colony). sony PCG-4R2L battery
Burma became an independent nation in 1948, initially as a democratic nation and then, following a coup in 1962, Sony PCG-4121EL Battery

Sony PCG-41217L Battery a military dictatorship which formally ended in 2011. For most of its independent years, the country’s myriad ethnic groups have been involved in one of the world’s longest-running unresolved civil wars. sony PCG-4R1L battery

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sony PCG-6124L batteryDuring this time, the United Nations and several other organizations have reported consistent and systematic human rights violations in the country.[13][14Sony PCG-4121FL Battery

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Sony PCG-41216L Battery][15]

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The military junta was officially dissolved in 2011 following a general election in 2010 and a nominally civilian government installed, though the military retains enormous influence through the constitution that was ratified in 2008. sony PCG-4Q1L battery

 

sony PCG-6123L batterySince the military began relinquishing more of its control over the government – coupled with its release of Burma’s most prominent human rights activist, Aung San Suu Kyi, and many other political prisoners –sony PCG-6X1L battery

 

sony PCG-6122L battery the country’s foreign relations and human rights record have improved rapidly. Trade and other economic sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States have been eased.[16][ sony PCG-6X2L battery

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sony PCG-6121L battery17] There is, however, continuing criticism of the treatment of the largely Muslim Rohingya minority, particularly following the government response to religious clashes.[18][19][20]

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Burma is a country rich in jade and gems, oil, natural gas and other mineral resources. In 2011, its GDP stood at US$53.14 billion and was estimated to be growing at an annual rate of 5.5%.[21]

 

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In 1989, the military government officially changed the English translations of many names dating back to Burma’s colonial period, including that of the country itself: “Burma” became “Myanmar”. The renaming remains a contested issue.[22sony PCG-6X7L battery

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sony PCG-6Z2L battery] Many political and ethnic opposition groups and countries continue to use “Burma” because they do not recognise the legitimacy of the ruling military government or its authority to rename the country.[23] Sony PCG-41212L Battery

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The country’s official full name is the “Republic of the Union of Myanmar” Listeni/ˈmjɑːnˌmɑr/[6] (Burmese: ပြည်ထောင်စု သမ္မတ မြန်မာနိုင်ငံတော်, Pyidaunzu Thanmăda Myăma Nainngandaw, pronounced: [pjìdàʊɴzṵ θàɴməda̰ mjəmà nàɪɴŋàɴdɔ̀]). Some countries, however, have not recognized this name and use the short form “Union of Burma” instead.[21][24] sony PCG-6XAL battery

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In English, the country is popularly known by either of its short names “Burma” or “Myanmar”. Both these names are derived from the name of the majority Burmese Bamar ethnic group. sony PCG-4R2L battery

 

sony PCG-6Z4L battery Myanmar is considered to be the literary form of the name of the group, while Burma is derived from “Bamar”,Sony SVS13AB1GL Battery

Sony PCG-71911L Battery the colloquial form of the group’s name. Depending on the register used, the pronunciation would be Bama (pronounced: [bəmà]) or Myamah (pronounced: [mjəmà]). The name Burma has been in use in English since the time of British colonial rule.

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Burma continues to be used in English by the governments of many countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada.[ Sony SVS131C24L Battery

Sony PCG-71811L Battery25] Official United States policy retains Burma as the country’s name, although the State Department’s website lists the country as “Burma (Myanmar)” and Barack Obama has referred to the country as Myanmar.[26][ Sony SVS131E1DL Battery

Sony PCG-71713L Battery27][28] The United Nations uses Myanmar, as do the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Russia, France,[29] Germany,[30sony PCG-4R1L battery

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sony PCG-6Z3L battery] China, India, Norway,[31] Australia[32] and Japan.[25]

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There are also other variations; in Spain and Italy the country is commonly known as “Birmania”, in Portugal as “Birmânia”, whereas the Government of Brazil uses “Mianmar”.[33]

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History[edit]

 

Main article: History of Burma

Prehistory[edit]

Main articles: Prehistory of Burma, Pyu city-states, and Mon city-states
Sony PCG-71614L BatteryNeolithic paintings found inside Padah-Lin Caves, radiocarbon dated up to 13,000 years ago sony PCG-4Q3L battery

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Archaeological evidence shows that Homo erectus lived in the region now known as Burma as early as 400,000 years ago.[3Sony SVS151C2DL Battery

Sony PCG-61913L Battery4] The first evidence of Homo sapiens is dated to about 11,000 BC, in a Stone Age culture called the Anyathian with discoveries of stone tools in central Burma. Sony SVS151E1GL Battery

Sony PCG-61911L BatteryEvidence of neolithic age domestication of plants and animals and the use of polished stone tools dating to sometime between 10,000 and 6,000 BC has been discovered in the form of cave paintings near the city of Taunggyi.[35Sony PCG-61A11L Battery
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Sony PCG-61813L Battery] The Bronze Age arrived circa 1500 BC when people in the region were turning copper into bronze, growing rice and domesticating poultry and pigs; they were among the first people in the world to do so.[3Sony PCG-61A14L Battery
6] The Iron Age began around 500 BC with the emergence of iron-working settlements in an area south of present-day Mandalay.[3Sony PCG-71C11L Battery
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Sony PCG-61714L Battery7] Evidence also shows the presence of rice-growing settlements of large villages and small towns that traded with their surroundings as far as China between 500 BC and 200 AD.[38] sony PCG-6X1L battery

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Around the 2nd century BC the first-known city-states emerged in central Burma. The city-states were founded as part of the southward migration by the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Pyu, the earliest inhabitants of Burma of whom records are extant, Sony PCG-71913L Battery
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Sony PCG-91112L Batteryfrom present-day Yunnan.[39][4sony PCG-6X6L battery

 

sony PCG-6Z1L battery0] The Pyu culture was heavily influenced by trade with India, importing Buddhism as well as other cultural, architectural and political concepts which would have an enduring influence on later Burmese culture and political organization.[
Sony PCG-91111L Battery41] By the 9th century AD several city-states had sprouted across the land: the Pyu states in the central dry zone, Mon states along the southern coastline and Arakanese states along the western littoral. Sony PCG-91211L Battery
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The balance was upset when the Pyu states came under repeated attacks from the Kingdom of Nanzhao between the 750s and the 830s. Sony SVE141C11L Battery

Sony PCG-61713L Battery In the mid-to-late 9th century the Mranma (Burmans/Bamar) of Nanzhao founded a small settlement at Pagan (Bagan). sony PCG-6X7L battery

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sony PCG-6XBL battery It was one of several competing city-states until the late 10th century when it grew in authority and grandeur.[42]

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Imperial Burma[edit]

Main articles: Pagan Kingdom, Toungoo Dynasty, and Konbaung Dynasty

See also: Ava Kingdom, Hanthawaddy Kingdom, Mrauk U Kingdom, and Shan states
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Pagodas and temples in present-day Pagan (Bagan), the capital of the Pagan Kingdom

Pagan gradually grew to absorb its surrounding states until the 1050s–1060s when Anawrahta founded the Pagan Empire, Sony SVE141L11L Battery

Sony SVE171G112 Battery the first ever unification of the Irrawaddy valley and its periphery. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Pagan Empire and the Khmer Empire were two main powers in mainland Southeast Asia.[ Sony SVE151E11L Battery
43] The Burmese language and culture gradually became dominant in the upper Irrawaddy valley, eclipsing the Pyu, Mon and Pali norms by the late 12th century. Sony PCG-61A11L Battery

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Sony PCG-61317L BatteryTheravada Buddhism slowly began to spread to the village level although Tantric, Mahayana, Brahmanic, Sony SVE151G11L Battery

Sony SVE171E12L Battery and animist practices remained heavily entrenched. Pagan’s rulers and wealthy built over 10,000 Buddhist temples in the Pagan capital zone alone. Repeated Mongol invasions (1277–1301) toppled the four-century-old kingdom in 1287.[44]

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Sony SVE171E11L BatteryTemples at Mrauk U

Pagan’s collapse was followed by 250 years of political fragmentation that lasted well into the 16th century. Like the Burmans four centuries earlier, Shan migrants who arrived with the Mongol invasions stayed behind. Sony SVE151J11L Battery
Sony SVE171C11L BatterySeveral competing Shan states came to dominate the entire northwestern to eastern arc surrounding the Irrawaddy valley. Sony PCG-61A14L Battery

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The valley too was beset with petty states until the late 14th century when two sizable powers, Ava Kingdom and Hanthawaddy Kingdom, emerged. In the west, Sony PCG-4121FL Battery

Sony PCG-41215L Batterya politically fragmented Arakan was under competing influences of its stronger neighbors until the Kingdom of Mrauk U unified the Arakan coastline for the first time in 1437. Sony PCG-71312L Battery

 

Early on, Ava fought wars of unification (1385–1424) but could never quite reassemble the lost empire. Having held off Ava, Hanthawaddy entered its golden age, and Arakan went on to become a power in its own right for the next 350 years. Sony PCG-71311L Battery
In contrast, constant warfare left Ava greatly weakened, and it slowly disintegrated from 1481 onward. In 1527, Sony PCG-61714L Battery

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Sony PCG-61315L Battery the Confederation of Shan States conquered Ava itself, and ruled Upper Burma until 1555.
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Like the Pagan Empire, Ava, Hanthawaddy and the Shan states were all multi-ethnic polities. Despite the wars, cultural synchronization continued. This period is considered a golden age for Burmese culture. Sony PCG-71218L Battery

Sony PCG-61316L Battery Burmese literature “grew more confident, popular, and stylistically diverse”, and the second generation of Burmese law codes as well as the earliest pan-Burma chronicles emerged.[45] Hanthawaddy monarchs introduced religious reforms that later spread to the rest of the country.[ Sony PCG-71217L Battery
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Sony PCG-61315L Battery46] Many splendid temples of Mrauk U were built during this period.

 

 

 

Bayinnaung’s Empire in 1580

Political unification returned in the mid-16th century, due to the efforts of one tiny Toungoo (Taungoo), a former vassal state of Ava. Toungoo’s young, ambitious king Tabinshwehti defeated the more powerful Hanthawaddy in 1541. Sony PCG-71315L Battery

Sony PCG-61312L BatteryHis successor Bayinnaung went on to conquer a vast swath of mainland Southeast Asia including the Shan states, Lan Na, Manipur, the Chinese Shan states, Siam, Lan Xang and southern Arakan. Sony PCG-71316L Battery

Sony PCG-61311L Battery However, the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia unravelled soon after Bayinnaung’s death in 1581, completely collapsing by 1599. Sony PCG-61911L Battery

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Sony PCG-61312L Battery Siam seized Tenasserim and Lan Na, and Portuguese mercenaries established Portuguese rule at Syriam (Thanlyin).
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The dynasty regrouped and defeated the Portuguese in 1613 and Siam in 1614. It restored a smaller, more manageable kingdom, encompassing Lower Burma, Upper Burma, Shan states, Lan Na and upper Tenasserim. Sony PCG-4121GL Battery
The Restored Toungoo kings created a legal and political framework whose basic features would continue well into the 19th century. Sony PCG-71317L Battery

Sony PCG-61211L BatteryThe crown completely replaced the hereditary chieftainships with appointed governorships in the entire Irrawaddy valley, and greatly reduced the hereditary rights of Shan chiefs. Its trade and secular administrative reforms built a prosperous economy for more than 80 years. From the 1720s onward, Sony PCG-71318L Battery

Sony PCG-71216L Batterythe kingdom was beset with repeated Manipuri raids into Upper Burma, and a nagging rebellion in Lan Na. In 1740, Sony PCG-71614L Battery

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the Mon of Lower Burma founded the Restored Hanthawaddy Kingdom. Hanthawaddy forces sacked Ava in 1752, ending the 266-year-old Toungoo Dynasty.

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Sony PCG-41214L BatteryA British 1825 lithograph of Shwedagon Pagoda shows British occupation during the First Anglo-Burmese War.

After the fall of Ava, one resistance group, Alaungpaya’s Konbaung Dynasty defeated Restored Hanthawaddy, and by 1759, Sony PCG-71211L Battery
had reunited all of Burma (and Manipur), and driven out the French and the British who had provided arms to Hanthawaddy. By 1770, Alaungpaya’s heirs had subdued much of Laos (1765), defeated Siam (1767), Sony PCG-71212L Battery
Sony PCG-71215L Battery and defeated four invasions by China (1765–1769).[47Sony PCG-71911L Battery

 

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] With Burma preoccupied by the Chinese threat, Siam recovered its territories by 1770, and went on to capture Lan Na by 1776. Sony PCG-3B1L Battery
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Burma and Siam went to war until 1855, but all resulted in a stalemate, exchanging Tenasserim (to Burma) and Lan Na (to Siam). Faced with a powerful China and a resurgent Siam in the east, King Bodawpaya turned west, Sony PCG-3B3L Battery
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Sony PCG-5S2L Batteryacquiring Arakan (1785), Manipur (1814) and Assam (1817). It was the second largest empire in Burmese history but also one with a long ill-defined border with British India.[48]
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The breadth of this empire was short lived. Burma lost Arakan, Manipur, Assam and Tenasserim to the British in the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–1826). In 1852, the British easily seized Lower Burma in the Second Anglo-Burmese War. Sony PCG-3C2L Battery
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Sony PCG-5P4L BatteryKing Mindon tried to modernize the kingdom, and in 1875 narrowly avoided annexation by ceding the Karenni States. The British, Sony PCG-71912L Battery

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Sony PCG-71216L Batteryalarmed by the consolidation of French Indo-China, annexed the remainder of the country in the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885.

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Konbaung kings extended Restored Toungoo’s administrative reforms, and achieved unprecedented levels of internal control and external expansion. For the first time in history, the Burmese language and Sony PCG-3D3L Battery

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Sony PCG-5N2L Battery culture came to predominate the entire Irrawaddy valley. The evolution and growth of Burmese literature and theater continued, aided by an extremely high adult male literacy rate for the era (half of all males Sony PCG-3D4L Battery
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Sony PCG-5R2L Battery and 5% of females).[49] Nonetheless, the extent and pace of reforms were uneven and ultimately proved insufficient to stem the advance of British colonialism.

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British troops firing a mortar on the Mawchi road, July 1944.

The country was colonized by Britain following three Anglo-Burmese Wars (1824–1885). British rule brought social, economic, cultural and administrative changes. Sony PCG-71914L Battery

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With the fall of Mandalay, all of Burma came under British rule, being annexed on 1 January 1886. Throughout the colonial eraSony PCG-3F4L Battery

Sony PCG-5N4L Batterymany Indians arrived as soldiers, civil servants, construction workers and traders and, along with the Anglo-Burmese community, dominated commercial and civil life in Burma. Rangoon became the capital of British Burma and an important port between Calcutta and Singapore. Sony PCG-3B1L Battery

 

Burmese resentment was strong and was vented in violent riots that paralysed Yangon (Rangoon) on occasion all the way until the 1930s.[5Sony PCG-3G3L Battery

Sony PCG-3H4L Battery0] Some of the discontent was caused by a disrespect for Burmese culture and traditions such as the British refusal to remove shoes when they entered pagodas. Buddhist monks Sony PCG-3G5L Battery

Sony PCG-3H3L Batterybecame the vanguards of the independence movement. U Wisara, an activist monk, died in prison after a 166-day hunger strike to protest a rule that forbade him from wearing his Buddhist robes while imprisoned.[51] Sony PCG-91311L Battery

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On 1 April 1937, Burma became a separately administered colony of Great Britain and Ba Maw the first Prime Minister and Premier of Burma. Ba Maw was an outspoken advocate for Burmese self-rule and he opposed the participation of Great Britain, Sony PCG-5T1L Battery
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and by extension Burma, in World War II. He resigned from the Legislative Assembly and was arrested for sedition. In 1940, before Japan formally entered the Second World War, Aung San formed the Burma Independence Army in Japan. Sony SVE141D11L Battery
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A major battleground, Burma was devastated during World War II. By March 1942, within months after they entered the war, Japanese troops had advanced on Rangoon and the British administration had collapsed. Sony PCG-9Z2L Battery
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Sony PCG-8141L BatteryA Burmese Executive Administration headed by Ba Maw was established by the Japanese in August 1942. Wingate’s British Chindits were formed into long-range penetration groups trained to operate deep behind Japanese lines.[5Sony PCG-7151L Battery
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Sony PCG-8131L Battery2] A similar American unit, Merrill’s Marauders, followed the Chindits into the Burmese jungle in 1943.[53] Beginning in late 1944, allied troops launched a series of offensives that led to the end of Japanese rule in July 1945Sony PCG-7153L Battery

Sony PCG-7185L Battery. However, the battles were intense with much of Burma laid waste by the fighting. Overall, the Japanese lost some 150,000 men in Burma. Sony SVE141L11L Battery

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Sony PCG-5T3L BatteryOnly 1,700 prisoners were taken.[54] Sony PCG-7154L Battery

 

Although many Burmese fought initially for the Japanese, some Burmese, mostly from the ethnic minorities, also served in the British Burma Army.[55Sony PCG-7161L Battery

Sony PCG-7184L Battery] The Burma National Army and the Arakan National Army fought with the Japanese from 1942 to 1944, but switched allegiance to the Allied side in 1945.

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Following World War II, Aung San negotiated the Panglong Agreement with ethnic leaders that guaranteed the independence of Burma as a unified state. Aung Zan Wai, Pe Khin, Bo Hmu Aung, Sir Maung Gyi, Dr. Sein Mya Maung, Sony PCG-7171L Battery
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Myoma U Than Kywe were among the negotiators of the historical Panglong Conference negotiated with Bamar leader General Aung San and other ethnic leaders in 1947. In 1947, Aung Sony PCG-7173L Battery

Sony PCG-7183L Battery San became Deputy Chairman of the Executive Council of Burma, a transitional government. But in July 1947, political rivals[56] assassinated Aung San and several cabinet members.[57] Sony PCG-7174L Battery

 

Independence[edit]

Main article: Post-independence Burma, 1948–62

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Sony PCG-71212L BatteryBritish governor Hubert Elvin Rance and Sao Shwe Thaik at the flag raising ceremony on 4 January 1948 (Independence Day of Burma).

On 4 January 1948, the nation became an independent republic, named the Union of Burma, with Sao Shwe Thaik as its first President and U Nu as its first Prime Minister. Unlike most other former British colonies and overseas territories, Sony PCG-7181L Battery
Sony PCG-7182L Batteryit did not become a member of the Commonwealth. A bicameral parliament was formed, consisting of a Chamber of Deputies and a Chamber of Nationalities,[58] and multi-party elections were held in 1951–1952, 1956 and 1960. Sony SVE151J11L Battery

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The geographical area Burma encompasses today can be traced to the Panglong Agreement, which combined Burma Proper, which consisted of Lower Burma and Upper Burma, and the Frontier Areas, which had been administered separately by the British.[59] Sony SVE171E11L Battery

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In 1961, U Thant, then the Union of Burma’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and former Secretary to the Prime Minister, was elected Secretary-General of the United Nations, a position he held for ten years.[ Sony PCG-41112L Battery
60] Among the Burmese to work at the UN when he was Secretary-General was a young Aung San Suu Kyi, who went on to become winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize.

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Sony PCG-81314L BatteryShwedagon pagoda, Yangon, Burma in 1981

On 2 March 1962, the military led by General Ne Win took control of Burma through a coup d’état and the government has been under direct or indirect control by the military since then. Between 1962 and 1974, Sony PCG-51113L Battery

Sony PCG-81313L Battery Burma was ruled by a revolutionary council headed by the general, and almost all aspects of society (business, media, production) were nationalized or brought under government control under the Burmese Way to Socialism,[ Sony PCG-61713L Battery

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Sony PCG-21313L Battery61] which combined Soviet-style nationalisationSony PCG-51211L Battery

Sony PCG-81312L Battery  and central planning with the governmental implementation of superstitious beliefs.[citation needed] A new constitution of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma was adopted in 1974. Sony PCG-51311L Battery

Sony PCG-81311L BatteryUntil 1988, the country was ruled as a one-party system, with the General and other military officers resigning and ruling through the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP).[6Sony PCG-51312L Battery

Sony PCG-81214L Battery2] During this period, Burma became one of the world’s most impoverished countries.[63]

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There were sporadic protests against military rule during the Ne Win years and these were almost always violently suppressed. On 7 July 1962, the government broke up demonstrations at Rangoon University, killing 15 students.[6Sony PCG-51411L Battery

Sony PCG-81114L Battery1] In 1974, the military violently suppressed anti-government protests at the funeral of U Thant. Student protests in 1975, 1976 and 1977 were quickly suppressed by overwhelming force.[62]

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Protesters gathering in central Rangoon, 1988

In 1988, unrest over economic mismanagement and political oppression by the government led to widespread pro-democracy demonstrations throughout the country known as the 8888 Uprising. Security forces killed thousands of demonstrators, Sony PCG-51511L Battery

Sony PCG-81113L Battery and General Saw Maung staged a coup d’état and formed the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). In 1989, Sony PCG-51513L Battery

Sony PCG-81112L BatterySLORC declared martial law after widespread protests. The military government finalised plans for People’s Assembly elections on 31 May 1989.[64] SLORC changed the country’s official English name from the “Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma” to the “Union of Myanmar” in 1989. Sony PCG-61412L Battery

 

In May 1990, the government held free elections for the first time in almost 30 years and the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, won 392 out of a total 489 seats (i.e., 80% of the seats). Sony PCG-71111L Battery
Sony PCG-81111L Battery However, the military junta refused to cede power[65] and continued to rule the nation as SLORC until 1997, and then as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) until its dissolution in March 2011. Sony VPCF115FM battery
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On 23 June 1997, Burma was admitted into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Sony PCG-71311L Battery

 

Sony PCG-71315L BatteryOn 27 March 2006, the military junta, which had moved the national capital from Yangon to a site near Pyinmana in November 2005, officially named the new capital Naypyidaw, meaning “city of the kings”.[66] Sony VPCF11MFX battery
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Protesters in Yangon during the 2007 Saffron Revolution with a banner that reads non-violence: national movement in Burmese. In the background is Shwedagon Pagoda.

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Cyclone Nargis, 2–3 May 2008,

devastated southern Burma

In August 2007, Sony PCG-71218L Battery

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Sony PCG-71313L Battery an increase in the price of diesel and petrol led to a series of anti-government protests that were dealt with harshly by the government.[6Sony PCG-81213M battery

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7] The protests then became a campaign of civil resistance (also called the Saffron Revolution.[68][69])[7Sony VPCF11LFX battery
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Sony VPCF119HX battery0] led by Buddhist monks,[71Sony PCG-71111L Battery

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] hundreds of whom defied the house arrest of democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi to pay their respects at the gate of her house. The government finally cracked down on them on 26 September 2007. Sony VPCF117FX battery
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Sony VPCF114FX battery The crackdown was harsh, with reports of barricades at the Shwedagon Pagoda and monks killed. However, there were also rumours of disagreement within the Burmese armed forces, Sony VPCF11KFX battery

Sony VPCF11PFX batterybut none was confirmed. The military crackdown against unarmed Saffron Revolution protesters was widely condemned as part of the International reaction to the 2007 Sony PCG-81112L Battery

 

Sony PCG-81314L Battery Burmese anti-government protests and led to an increase in economic sanctions against the Burmese Government. Sony VPCF11CGX battery
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In May 2008, Cyclone Nargis caused extensive damage in the densely populated, rice-farming delta of the Irrawaddy Division.[ Sony VPCF111FX battery

Sony VPCF11BFX battery72] It was the worst natural disaster in Burmese history with reports of an estimated 200,000 people dead or missing, and damage totaled to 10 billion dollars (USD), and as many as 1 million left homeless.[7Sony VPCF11GGX battery

Sony VPCF11AFX battery3] In the critical days following this disaster, Burma’s isolationist government hindered recovery efforts by delaying the entry of United Nations planes delivering medicine, food, and other supplies.[74] Sony VPCF11NFX battery

 

In early August 2009, a conflict known as the Kokang incident broke out in Shan State in northern Burma. Sony PCG-81312M battery

Sony PCG-81313M battery For several weeks, junta troops fought against ethnic minorities including the Han Chinese,[75] Wa, and Kachin.[76] Sony VPCF119GX battery
Sony VPCF1190X battery [77] During 8–12 August, the first days of the conflict, as many as 10,000 Burmese civilians fled to Yunnan province in neighbouring China.[76][77][7Sony PCG-81113L Battery

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8]

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Democratic reforms[edit]

Main article: 2011–12 Burmese political reforms

The goal of the Burmese constitutional referendum of 2008, held on 10 May 2008, is the creation of a “discipline-flourishing democracy”.Sony VGP-BPL12 Battery

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As part of the referendum process, the name of the country was changed from the “Union of Myanmar” to the “Republic of the Union of Myanmar”, and general elections were held under the new constitution in 2010. Sony VGP-BPL14 Battery

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Observer accounts of the 2010 election describe the event as mostly peaceful; however, allegations of polling station irregularities were raised, Sony PCG-81214L Battery

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Sony PCG-81313L Batteryand the United Nations (UN) and a number of Western countries condemned the elections as fraudulent. Sony VGP-BPL14B Battery

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Sony VGP-BPS26 Battery [79] One report documented 77 percent as the official turnout rate of the election.[80] The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party later declared victory, stating that it had been favoured Sony VGP-BPL21 Battery

 

Sony VGP-BPL22 Battery by 80 percent of the votes, but the claim was disputed by numerous pro-democracy opposition groups who asserted that the military regime had engaged in rampant fraud.[80][81] The military junta was dissolved on 30 March 2011.

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Sony VGP-BPS22A BatterySome assert the military is as present as ever and that what is now a ‘disciplined democracy’ is leading to further institutionalization of the military in Burmese politics. Such an assertion assumes reforms only occurred when the military was able to safeguard its own interests through the transition. Sony VGP-BPS9 Battery

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Sony VGP-BPS22 Battery Here, transition does not refer to a transition to a full democracy, but transition to a quasi-military rule. It is as yet premature to declare that the reforms of 2008[verification needed] and 2011 have led to a genuine democracy.[82]

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Since the 2010 election, the government has embarked on a series of reforms to direct the country towards liberal democracy, a mixed economy, and reconciliation, although doubts persist about the motives that underpin such reforms. Sony VGP-BPS12 Battery

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Sony VGP-BPS21/S BatteryThe series of reforms includes the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission, the granting of general amnesties for more than 200 political prisoners, Sony VGP-BPS13A Battery

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Sony VGP-BPS21B Batterynew labour laws that permit labour unions and strikes, a relaxation of press censorship, and the regulation of currency practices.[83]

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The impact of the post-election reforms has been observed in numerous areas, including ASEAN’s approval of Burma’s bid for the position of ASEAN chair in 2014; the visit by United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in December 2011 Sony VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

for the encouragement of further progress—it was the first visit by a Secretary of State in more than fifty years[84] (Clinton met with Burmese president Thein Sein, as well as opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi);[ Sony VGP-BPS13/B Battery

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85] and the participation of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party in the 2012 by-elections, facilitated by the government’s abolition of the laws that previously barred the NLD.[86Sony VGP-BPS13B/Q Battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS21 Battery] As of July 2013, about 100[87][88] political prisoners remain imprisoned, while conflict between the Burmese Army and local insurgent groups continues.

 

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The by-elections occurred on 1 April 2012 and the NLD won 43 of the 45 available seats; previously an illegal organization, the NLD had never won a Burmese election until this time. The 2012 by-elections

 

Sony VGP-BPS15/B Battery were also the first time that international representatives were allowed to monitor the voting process in Burma.[89Sony VGP-BPS13/Q Battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS15 Battery] Following announcement of the by-elections, the Freedom House organization raised concerns about “reports of fraud and harassment in the lead up to elections, including the March 23 deportation Sony VGP-BSP13/S Battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS14/S Battery of Somsri Hananuntasuk, executive director of the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), a regional network of civil society organizations promoting democratization.”[90] Sony VGP-BPS14 Battery

 

 

Civil war[edit]

Main articles: Internal conflict in Burma and Kachin Conflict

Civil wars have been a constant feature of Burma’s socio-political landscape since the attainment of independence in 1948. Sony VGP-BPS14/B Battery

Sony VGP-BPS14B BatteryThese wars are predominantly struggles for ethnic and sub-national autonomy, with the areas surrounding the ethnically Burman central districts of the country serving as the primary geographical setting of conflict. Foreign journalists and visitors require a special travel permit to visit the areas in which Burma’s civil wars continue.[91] Sony VGP-BPL14 battery

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In October 2012 the number of ongoing conflicts in Burma included the Kachin conflict,[92] between the Kachin Independence Army and the government;[93] Sony VGP-BPL14/S battery

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Sony VGP-BPS22A battery [94] a civil war between the Rohingya Muslims, and the government and non-government groups in Arakan State;[95] and a conflict between the Shan,[96][97] Lahu and Karen[98][99] minority groups, and the government in the eastern half of the country.

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A widely publicised Burmese conflict was the 2012 Rakhine State riots, a series of conflicts that primarily involved the ethnic Rakhine Buddhist people and the Rohingya Muslim people in the northern Rakhine State—an estimated 90,000 people were displaced as a result of the riots.[1Sony VGP-BPS14/S battery

 

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00] The Burmese government previously identified the Rohingya as a group of illegal migrants; however, the ethnic group has lived in Burma for numerous centuries.[101]

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In 2007 the German professor Bassam Tibi suggested that the Rohingya conflict may be driven by an Islamist political agenda to impose religious laws,[102] Sony VGP-BPS12 battery

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while non-religious causes have also been raised, such as a lingering resentment over the violence that occurred during the Japanese occupation of Burma in World War II—during this time period the British allied themselves with the Rohingya[103Sony vgp-bps24 battery
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Sony VGP-BPS26A battery] and fought against the puppet government of Burma (composed mostly of Bamar Japanese) that helped to establish the Tatmadaw military organization that remains in power as of March 2013.

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A UN envoy reported in March 2013 that unrest had re-emerged between Burma’s Buddhist and Muslim communities, with violence spreading to towns that are located closer to Yangon.[10Sony VGP-BPS12 battery

 

Sony VGP-BPS26 battery4] The BBC News media outlet obtained video footage of a man with severe burns who received no assistance from passers-by or police officers even though he was lying on the ground in a public area. Sony VGP-BPS12/Q battery

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Sony VGP-BPS22A batteryThe footage was filmed by members of the Burmese police force in the town of Meiktila and was used as evidence that Buddhists continued to kill Muslims after the European Union sanctions were lifted on 23 April 2013.[105]

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Sony VGP-BPL22 batteryAssembly of the Union (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw).

The constitution of Burma, its third since independence, was drafted by its military rulers and published in September 2008. Sony VGP-BPS20/S battery

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The country is governed as a presidential republic with a bicameral legislature, with a portion of legislators appointed by the military and others elected in general elections. The current head of state, inaugurated as President on 30 March 2011, is Thein Sein.

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The legislature, called the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, is bicameral and made up of two houses: The 224-seat upper house Amyotha Hluttaw (House of Nationalities) and the 440-seat lower house Pyithu Hluttaw (House of Representatives). Sony VGP-BPL14/B battery

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The upper house consists of 224 members, of whom 168 are directly elected and 56 are appointed by the Burmese Armed Forces while the lower house consists of 440 members, of whom 330 are directly elected and 110 are appointed by the armed forces. Sony VGP-BPL14/S battery

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The major political parties are the National League for Democracy, National Democratic Force and the two backed by the military: the National Unity Party, and the Union Solidarity and Development Party.

 

 

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Burma’s army-drafted constitution was approved in a referendum in May 2008. The results, 92.4% of the 22 million voters with an official turnout of 99%, are considered suspect by many international observers and by the National league of democracy with reports of widespread fraud, ballot stuffing, and voter intimidation.[106] Sony VGP-BPS14 battery

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The elections of 2010 resulted in a victory for the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party and various foreign observers questioned the fairness of the elections.[107][10sony VPCEB3AFM battery

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8][109] One criticism of the election was that only government sanctioned political parties were allowed to contest in it and the popular National League for Democracy was declared illegal and is still barred from political activities.[11sony VPCEA24FM battery

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sony VPCEH35FM battery0] However, immediately following the elections, the government ended the house arrest of the democracy advocate and leader of the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi.[11

 

sony VPCEH3BFM battery1] and her ability to move freely around the country is considered an important test of the military’s movement toward more openness.[110] After unexpected reforms in 2011, NLD senior leaders have decided to register as a political party and to field candidates in future by-elections.[112sony VPCEA36FM battery

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Burma rates as a highly corrupt nation on the Corruption Perceptions Index with a rank of 180th out of 183 countries worldwide and a rating of 1.5 out of 10 (10 being least corrupt and 0 being highly corrupt) as of 2011.[113]

 

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Foreign relations[edit]

Main article: Foreign relations of Burma

Though the country’s foreign relations, particularly with Western nations, have been strained, relations have thawed since the reforms following the 2010 elections. After years of diplomatic isolation and economic and military sanctions,[ sony VPCEB32FMbattery

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sony VPCEB23FM battery114] the United States relaxed curbs on foreign aid to Burma in November 2011[85] and announced the resumption of diplomatic relations on 13 January 2012[115] The European Union has placed sanctions on Burma, including an arms embargo, sony VPCEB14FX battery

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cessation of trade preferences, and suspension of all aid with the exception of humanitarian aid.[11sony VPCEB11GX battery

 

sony VPCEB190X battery6] U.S. and European government sanctions against the former military government, coupled with boycotts and other direct pressure on corporations by supporters of the democracy movement, have resulted in the withdrawal from the country of most U.S. and many European companies.[11sony VPCEB12FX battery

 

sony VPCEB1AFX battery7] On 13 April 2012 British Prime Minister David Cameron called for the economic sanctions on Burma to be suspended in the wake of the pro-democracy party gaining 43 seats out of a possible 45 in the 2012 by-elections with the party leader, sony VPCEB15FX battery

 

sony VPCEB1AGX battery Aung San Suu Kyi becoming a member of the Burmese parliament.[118]

 

Despite Western isolation, Asian corporations have generally remained willing to continue investing in the country and to initiate new investments, particularly in natural resource extraction. Sony PCG-6P2M Battery

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sony VPCEB15FM batteryThe country has close relations with neighbouring India and China with several Indian and Chinese companies operating in the country. Under India’s Look East policy, fields of cooperation between India and Burma include remote sensing,[1sony VPCEB16FX battery

sony VPCEB17FX battery19] oil and gas exploration,[120] information technology,[12Sony PCG-6R1M Battery

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1] hydro power[122] and construction of ports and buildings.[12sony VPCEB22FX battery

 

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3] In 2008, India suspended military aid to Burma over the issue of human rights abuses by the ruling junta, although it has preserved extensive commercial ties, which provide the regime with much-needed revenue.[12sony VPCEB25FX battery

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sony VPCEB23FX battery4] The thaw in relations began on 28 November 2011, Sony PCG-6C1M Battery

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when Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich and his wife Ludmila arrived in the capital, Naypyidaw, the same day as the country received a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sony VPCEB2SFX battery

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sony VPCEB42FX battery who also met with pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.[125] International relations progress indicators continued in September 2012 when Aung San Suu Kyi visited to the US[1sony VPCEB31FX battery

 

sony VPCEB3CFX battery26] followed by Burma’s reformist president visit to the United Nations.[127]

 

In May 2013, Sony PCG-6E1M Battery

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Sony PCG-7R1M BatteryThein Sein became the first Myanmar president to visit the U.S. White House in 47 years and President Barack Obama praised the former general for political and economic reforms, and the cessation of tensions between Myanmar and the U.S. sony VPCEB2YFX battery

 

sony VPCEB3DFX battery Political activists objected to the visit due to concerns over human rights abuses in Myanmar but Obama assured Thein Sein that Myanmar will receive the support from the U.S. Prior to President Thein Sein, sony VPCEB32FX battery

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sony VPCEB3AFX batterythe last Myanmar leader to visit the White House was Ne Win in September 1966. The two leaders discussed to release more political prisoners, the institutionalization of political reform and rule of law, sony VPCEB33GX battery

 

sony VPCEB37FX batteryand ending ethnic conflict in Myanmar—the two governments agreed to sign a bilateral trade and investment framework agreement on May 21, 2013.[128]

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In June 2013, Myanmar held its first ever summit, the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2013. A regional spinoff of the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, sony VPCEH12FX battery

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Switzerland, the summit was held on June 5–7 and attended by 1,200 participants, including 10 heads of state, 12 ministers and 40 senior directors from around the world.[129]

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sony VPCEH390X batteryThein Sein meets U.S. President Barack Obama in Yangon, 19 November 2012

In mid October, 2012. former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair “led a delegation” to shake hands with President Thein Sein, sony VPCEH16FX battery

and met with lower house speaker Shwe Mann. A British embassy spokesperson said he was there on behalf of The Office of Tony Blair, an umbrella group of foundations—inter-faith, Sony PCG-6H1M Battery

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Sony PCG-7N2M Battery sports, etc.—and governance initiatives that he started up after leaving office. The spokesperson said only that he had “productive discussions about the reform process”.[130]

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On 3 November 2012 European Commission President José Manuel Barroso met with Myanmar’s President Thein Sein in Myanmar.[131][132]

 

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On 6 November 2012 Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard met with Myanmar’s President Thein Sein on the sidelines of the 9th Asia–Europe Meeting becoming the first Australian head of government to meet Burma’s leader in nearly 30 years.[133]

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On 12 November 2012 Sweden’s Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, met President U Thein Sein at the presidential palace in the new capital, Naypyidaw, Sony PCG-6J1M Battery

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Sony PCG-7N1M Battery while being accompanied on his visit by the Swedish Trade Minister Ewa Björling and two business delegations.[134]

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On 19 November 2012, US President Barack Obama visited Burma following his 2012 reelection and was accompanied by Hillary Clinton, returning almost a year after her first visit. Though he did not visit the capital, sony VPCEH1BFX battery

 

sony VPCEH2CFX batteryPresident Obama delivered a speech at Rangoon University, out of respect for the university where opposition to colonial rule first took hold. Obama’s speech was broadcast live via Burmese state television channels sony VPCEH1CFX battery

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sony VPCEH290X battery but its simultaneous spoken translations was stopped when Obama began speaking about the Kachin Conflict.[1sony VPCEH2AFX battery

 

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sony VPCEH27FX battery35] Obama also stated that recent violence in Rakhine state during the 2012 Rakhine State riots had to be addressed, he called for an end to communal violence between Muslims and Buddhists and then left to visit Thailand.[136][137] Sony PCG-6L1M Battery

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sony VPCEH23FX batteryMyanmar Air Force Mikoyan MiG-29 multirole fighter

Burma has received extensive military aid from India and China in the past[1Sony PCG-7Y1M Battery

 

Sony PCG-7H2M Battery38] According to some estimates, Burma has received more than US$200 million in military aid from India.[139] Burma has been a member of ASEAN since 1997. sony VPCEH2BFX battery

sony VPCEH22FX battery Though it gave up its turn to hold the ASEAN chair and host the ASEAN Summit in 2006, it is scheduled to chair the forum and host the summit in 2014.[140] In November 2008, Burma’s political situation with neighbouring sony SVE1513MCXS battery

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sony SVE1511KFXW battery Bangladesh became tense as they began searching for natural gas in a disputed block of the Bay of Bengal.[14Sony PCG-8V1M Battery

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Sony PCG-7H1M Battery1] The fate of Rohingya refugees also remains an issue between Bangladesh and Burma.[142]

 

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The country’s armed forces are known as the Tatmadaw, which numbers 488,000. The Tatmadaw comprises the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. The country ranked twelfth in the world for its number of active troops in service.[ sony SVE15137CXS battery

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sony SVE1511GFXW battery21] The military is very influential in the country, with all top cabinet and ministry posts usually held by military officials. Official figures for military spending are not available. sony SVE15132CXS battery

 

sony SVE1511DFYS batteryEstimates vary widely because of uncertain exchange rates, but Burma’s military forces’ expenses are high.[14Sony PCG-8W1M Battery

 

Sony PCG-7G1M Battery3] The country imports most of its weapons from Russia, Ukraine, China and India.

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The country is building a research nuclear reactor near Pyin Oo Lwin with help from Russia. It is one of the signatories of the nuclear non-proliferation pact since 1992 and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sony SVE15125CXS battery

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since 1957. The military junta had informed the IAEA in September 2000 of its intention to construct the reactor. Sony PCG-8W2M Battery

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Sony PCG-7D1M BatteryThe research reactor outbuilding frame was built by ELE steel industries limited of Yangon/Rangoon and water from Anisakhan/BE water fall will be used for the reactor cavity cooling system.[144][145] sony SVE15124CXS battery

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In 2010 as part of the Wikileaks leaked cables, Burma was suspected of using North Korean construction teams to build a fortified Surface-to-Air Missile facility.[146]

 

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Until 2005, the United Nations General Assembly annually adopted a detailed resolution about the situation in Burma by consensus.[147][14sony SVE15135CXS battery

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sony SVE1511BGXS battery7][148][149][150] But in 2006 a divided United Nations General Assembly voted through a resolution that strongly called upon the government of Burma to end its systematic violations of human rights.[15sony SVE15112FXS battery

 

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1] In January 2007, Russia and China vetoed a draft resolution before the United Nations Security Council[152] Sony PCG-6P2M Battery
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calling on the government of Burma to respect human rights and begin a democratic transition. South Africa also voted against the resolution.[153]

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On 19 November 2012, Barack Obama became the first American president to visit Myanmar.[154]

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Human rights[edit]

Main article: Human rights in Burma

Further information: Internal conflict in Burma and Persecution of Muslims in Burma

Gnome globe current event.svg sony SVE15115FXS battery

 

This article’s factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (January 2013) Sony PCG-6R1M Battery
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There is consensus that the military regime in Burma is one of the world’s most repressive and abusive regimes.[155][1sony SVE151190X battery

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sony SVE151290X battery56] On 9 November 2012, Samantha Power, Barack Obama’s Special Assistant to the President on Human Rights, wrote on the White House blog in advance of the president’s visit that “Serious human rights abuses against civilians in several regions continue, including against women and children.”[96] In addition, sony SVE1512HCXS battery

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sony SVE15128CXS battery members of the United Nations and major international human rights organisations have issued repeated and consistent reports of widespread and systematic human rights violations in Burma. The United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly[1sony SVE1512KCXS battery

 

sony SVE1513JCXW battery57] called on the Burmese Military Junta to respect human rights and in November 2009 the General Assembly adopted a resolution “strongly condemning the ongoing systematic violations of human rights sony SVE1513APXS battery

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sony SVE1513HCXS battery and fundamental freedoms” and calling on the Burmese Military Regime “to take urgent measures to put an end to violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.”[158sony SVE1713ACXB battery

 

sony SVE17137CXB battery] International human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch,[159] Amnesty International[16Sony PCG-6D1M Battery
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0] and the American Association for the Advancement of Science[16sony SVE1713BCXB battery

 

sony SVE171290X battery1] have repeatedly documented and condemned widespread human rights violations in Burma. The Freedom in the World 2011 report by Freedom House notes, “The military junta has .. sony SVE1713CCXB battery

 

sony SVE17135CXB battery. suppressed nearly all basic rights; and committed human rights abuses with impunity.” In July 2013, Sony PCG-6G1M Battery
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Sony PCG-7X1M Battery the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners indicated that there were approximately 100 political prisoners being held in Burmese prisons.[87][88][162][163]

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sony SVE17132CXB batteryMae La camp, Tak, Thailand, one of the largest of nine UNHCR camps in Thailand where over 700,000 refugees,asylum seekers, and stateless persons have fled.[164]

Child soldiers[edit] sony SVE1713ECXB battery

 

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Child soldiers have and continue to play a major part in the Burmese Army as well as Burmese rebel movements. The Independent reported in June, 2012 that “Children are being sold as conscripts into the Burmese military for as little as $40 and a bag of rice or a can of petrol.”[1sony SVE1712ACXB battery

 

sony SVE17125CXB battery65] The UN’s Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, who stepped down from her position a week later, met representatives of the Government of Myanmar sony SVE1712BCXB battery

sony SVE17122CXB battery on 5 July 2012 and stated that she hoped the government’s signing of an action plan would “signal a transformation.”[ Sony VPCSA2Z9E battery
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Sony SVS1511N3ES battery166] In September 2012, the Myanmar Armed Forces released 42 child soldiers and the International Labour Sony SVS131B12M battery
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Organization met with representatives of the government as well as the Kachin Independence Army to secure the release of more child soldiers.[1Sony SVS151A12M battery
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Sony SVS1511M3EW battery67] According to Samantha Power, a U.S. delegation raised the issue of child soldiers with the government in October 2012. However, she did not comment on the government’s progress towards reform in this area.[96] Sony SVS1311P9EB battery
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A Bangkok Post article on 23 December 2012 reported that the Myanmar Armed Forces continued to use child soldiers including during the army’s large offensive against the KIA in December 2012. Sony PCG-4121DM battery
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Sony SVE1512B1E battery The newspaper reported that “Many of them were pulled off Yangon streets and elsewhere and given a minimum of training before being sent to the front line.”[168][unreliable source?]

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Child/forced/slave labour, systematic sexual violence and human trafficking[edit]

Forced labour, human trafficking, and child labour are common.[169] The military is also notorious for rampant use of sexual violence, Sony PCG-41213M battery
Sony SVE1511V1E batterya practice continuing as of 2012.[15] In 2007 the international movement to defend women’s human rights issues in Burma was said to be gaining speed.[170]

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Sony SVE1511Q1E batteryGenocide allegations and crimes against Rohingya people[edit]

Evidence gathered by a British researcher was published in 2005 regarding the extermination or ‘Burmisation’ of certain ethnic minorities, such as the Karen, Karenni and Shan.[171]

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The Rohingya people have consistently faced human rights abuses by the Burmese regime that has refused to acknowledge them as Burmese citizens (despite some of them having lived in Burma for numerous generations)—the Rohingya have been denied Burmese citizenship since the enactment of a 1982 citizenship law.[ Sony PCG-41214M battery
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Sony SVE1511L1E battery72] The Burmese regime has attempted to forcibly expel Rohingya and bring in non-Rohingyas to replace them[1Sony PCG-41212M battery
Sony SVE1511K1E battery73]—this policy has resulted in the expulsion of approximately half of the Rohingya population from Burma, while the Rohingya people have been described as “among the world’s least wanted”[174Sony PCG-41215M battery

Sony PCG-41216M battery
Sony SVE1511F1E battery] and “one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.”[175][176][173]

 

Thousands of homes were destroyed, 78 people died, 87 people were injured, and an estimated 90,000 people were displaced after the 2012 Rakhine State riots between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists in Burma’s western Rakhine State.[100][17Sony PCG-41217M battery

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Sony SVE1511A1EW battery7] Rohingya are also not allowed to travel without official permission, are banned from owning land and are required to sign a commitment to have no more than two children.[172]

 

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Sony PCG-31114M battery As of July 2012, the Myanmar Government does not include the Rohingya minority group—classified as stateless Bengali Muslims from Bangladesh since 1982—on the government’s list of more than 130 ethnic races and, therefore, the government states that they have no claim to Myanmar citizenship.[178] Sony VPCEA3S1R Battery
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2012 Rakhine State riots[edit]

Main article: 2012 Rakhine State riots

The 2012 Rakhine State riots are a series of ongoing conflicts between Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine in northern Rakhine State, Sony PCG-6G2M Battery
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Myanmar. The riots came after weeks of sectarian disputes and have been condemned by most people on both sides of the conflict.[179] Sony SVE151C11M battery

 

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The immediate cause of the riots is unclear, with many commentators citing the killing of ten Burmese Muslims by ethnic Rakhine after the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman as the main cause.[180] Whole villages have been “decimated”.[1Sony SVE1711T1EB battery
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Sony PCG-4U2M battery80] Over 300 houses and a number of public buildings have been razed. According to Tun Khin, the president of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK), as of 28 June 2012, 650 Rohingyas have been killed, 1,200 are missing, and more than 80,000 have been displaced.[18Sony SVE1711V1EB battery

 

Sony PCG-4R2M battery1] According to the Myanmar authorities, the violence, between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, Sony PCG-6J2M Battery
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Sony PCG-7N2M Battery left 78 people dead, 87 injured, and thousands of homes destroyed. It displaced more than 52,000 people.[177]

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The government has responded by imposing curfews and by deploying troops in the regions. On 10 June 2012, Sony SVE1511G1EW battery
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Sony PCG-41314M battery a state of emergency was declared in Rakhine, allowing the military to participate in administration of the region.[182][183] The Burmese army and police have been accused of targeting Rohingya Sony SVE1511G1EB battery

 

Sony PCG-41313M battery Muslims through mass arrests and arbitrary violence.[181][184] A number of monks’ organizations that played a vital role in Burma’s struggle for democracy have taken measures to block any humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya community.[185]

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Freedom of speech[edit]

Main article: Censorship in Burma

Restrictions on media censorship were significantly eased in August 2012 following demonstrations by hundreds of protesters who wore shirts demanding that the government “Stop Killing the Press.”[18Sony SVE1511S1ESI battery
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Sony VPCCA2S1E battery6] The most significant change has come in the form that media organizations will no longer have to submit their content to a censorship board before publication. However, as explained by  Sony SVE1511B1EW battery

Sony VPCCA3S1E batteryone editorial in the exiled press The Irrawaddy, this new “freedom” has caused some Burmese journalists to simply see the new law as an attempt to create an environment of self-censorship as
Sony VPCCB3M1E battery  journalists “are required to follow 16 guidelines towards protecting the three national causes — non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity, perpetuation of sovereignty Sony SVE1511H1ESI battery
Sony SVE1511J1EW battery— and “journalistic ethics” to ensure their stories are accurate and do not jeopardize national security.”[186] Sony SVE1511H1EW battery

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Praise for the 2011 government reforms[edit]

Since the transition to new government in August 2011, Burma’s human rights record has been improving according to the Crisis Group.[18Sony PCG-6112M battery

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7] The Freedom in the World 2012 report notes improvement due to new reforms. Previously rated as a 7, the lowest rating, for civil liberties and political rights, the release of political prisoners and a loosening of restriction has given Burma a 6 for civil liberties in the most recent Freedom in the World.[18Sony PCG-6122M battery

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Sony VPCZ12Z9E/B battery8] The government has assembled a National Human Rights Commission consisted of 15 members from various backgrounds.[189] Several activists in exile including Thee Lay Thee Anyeint members have returned to Burma after President Thein Sein’s offer to expatriates to return home to work for national development.[ Sony PCG-6124M battery

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Sony VPCZ12X9E/B battery190] In an address to the United Nations Security Council in 22 September 2011, Burma’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin confirmed the release of prisoners in near future.[ Sony VPCZ13M9E/B battery

 

Sony VPCZ12V9E/B battery191] The government has also relaxed reporting laws, but these remain highly restrictive.[192] In September 2011, several banned websites, including YouTube, Democratic Voice of Burma and Voice of America, Sony VPCZ13V9E battery

 

Sony VPCZ12V9E battery have been unblocked.[1Sony PCG-6L2M Battery

Sony PCG-7N1M Battery93] A 2011 report by the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations found that while constrained by donor restrictions on contact with the Myanmar government, international humanitarian non governmental organisations (NGOs) Sony VPCZ13Z9E/X battery

 

Sony VPCZ12M9E/B battery see opportunities for effective advocacy with government officials, especially at the local level. At the same time, international NGOs are mindful of the ethical quandary of how to work with the government without bolstering or appeasing it.[194]

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2013 onwards[edit]

Following Thein Sein’s first ever visit to the UK and a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron, the Myanmar president declared that all of his nation’s political prisoners will be released by the end of 2013,

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in addition to a statement of support for the well-being of the Rohingya Muslim community. In a speech at Chatham House, he revealed that “We [Myanmar government] are reviewing all cases. I guarantee to you that by the end of this year, Sony VPCZ23K9E battery

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there will be no prisoners of conscience in Myanmar.”, in addition to expressing a desire to strengthen links between the UK and Myanmar’s military forces.[195] Sony VGP-BPL20 battery

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A street market in Yangon selling produce.

The country is one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, suffering from decades of stagnation, mismanagement and isolation. Sony VGP-BPS20/S battery

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The lack of an educated workforce skilled in modern technology contributes to the growing problems of the economy.[196

 

Sony VPCZ11X9E/B battery] The country lacks adequate infrastructure. Goods travel primarily across the Thai border (where most illegal drugs are exported) and along the Irrawaddy River. Railways are old and rudimentary, Sony VPCZ11 battery

Sony VPCZ11X9E batterywith few repairs since their construction in the late 19th century.[197] Highways are normally unpaved, except in the major cities.[ Sony PCG-6P2M Battery
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197] Energy shortages are common throughout the country including in Yangon and only 25% of the country’s population has electricity.[198]

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The military government has the majority stakeholder position in all of the major industrial corporations of the country (from oil production and consumer goods to transportation and tourism).[199][200]

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The national currency is Kyat. Inflation averaged 30.1% between 2005 and 2007.[201] Inflation is a serious problem for the economy.

 

In 2010–2011, Bangladesh exported products worth $9.65 million to Myanmar against its import of $179 million.[202] The annual import of medicine and medical equipment to Burma during the 2000s was 160 million USD.[203] Sony PCG-6E1M Battery
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In recent years, both China and India have attempted to strengthen ties with the government for economic benefit. Many nations, including the United States and Canada, and the European Union, have imposed investment and trade sanctions on Burma. Sony PCG-6G1M Battery
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The United States and European Union eased most of their sanctions in 2012.[204] Foreign investment comes primarily from China, Singapore, the Philippines, South Korea, India, and Thailand.[205]

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Sony PCG-7N2M BatteryRice cultivation accounts for much of the agriculture in Burma today.

Background[edit]

Under British administration, Burma was the second-wealthiest country in South-East Asia. It had been the world’s largest exporter of rice. Burma also had a wealth of natural and labour resources. Sony PCG-6J1M Battery
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It produced 75% of the world’s teak and had a highly literate population.[23] The country was believed to be on the fast track to development.[ Sony PCG-7Y1M Battery
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Sony PCG-7M1M Battery23] However, agricultural production fell dramatically during the 1930s as international rice prices declined, and did not recover for several decades.[206] Sony PCG-6L1M Battery
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During World War II, the British destroyed the major oil wells and mines for tungsten, tin, lead and silver to keep them from the Japanese. Burma was bombed extensively by both sides. After a parliamentary government was formed in 1948, Sony PCG-7Y1M Battery
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Sony PCG-7N1M Battery Prime Minister U Nu embarked upon a policy of nationalization and the state was declared the owner of all land. The government also tried to implement a poorly considered Eight-Year plan. By the 1950s, Sony PCG-8V2M Battery
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Sony PCG-7H2M Battery rice exports had fallen by two thirds and mineral exports by over 96% (as compared to the pre-World War II period). Plans were partly financed by printing money, which led to inflation.[ Sony PCG-8V2M Battery

Sony PCG-7M1M Battery07] The 1962 coup d’état was followed by an economic scheme called the Burmese Way to Socialism, a plan to nationalise all industries, with the exception of agriculture. The catastrophic program turned Burma into one of the world’s most impoverished countries.[63] Sony PCG-8W1M Battery

Sony PCG-7H2M BatteryBurma’s admittance to Least Developed Country status by the UN in 1987 highlighted its economic bankruptcy.[208]

 

Agriculture[edit]

The major agricultural product is rice, which covers about 60% of the country’s total cultivated land area. Rice accounts for 97% of total food grain production by weight. Sony PCG-8W2M Battery

Sony PCG-7H1M Battery Through collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute 52 modern rice varieties were released in the country between 1966 and 1997, Sony PCG-7A1M Battery
helping increase national rice production to 14 million tons in 1987 and to 19 million tons in 1996. By 1988, modern varieties were planted on half of the country’s ricelands, Sony PCG-8W2M Battery
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including 98 percent of the irrigated areas.[2Sony PCG-7D1M Battery
Sony PCG-7G1M Battery09] In 2008 rice production was estimated at 50 million tons.[210]

 

Burma is also the world’s second largest producer of opium, accounting for 8% of entire world production and is a major source of illegal drugs, including amphetamines.[21Sony PCG-7D1M Battery
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Sony PCG-7H1M Battery1] Opium bans implemented since 2002 after international pressure have left ex-poppy farmers without sustainable sources of income in the Kokang and Wa regions. They depend on casual labour for income.[212]

 

Natural resources[edit]

Burma produces precious stones such as rubies, sapphires, pearls, and jade. Rubies are the biggest earner; 90% of the world’s rubies come from the country, whose red stones are prized for their purity and hue. Thailand buys the majority of the country’s gems. Sony PCG-8X1M Battery

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sony VPCF12Z1E/BI battery Burma’s “Valley of Rubies”, the mountainous Mogok area, 200 km (120 mi) north of Mandalay, is noted for its rare pigeon’s blood rubies and blue sapphires.[213]

 

Many U.S. and European jewellery companies, including Bulgari, Tiffany, and Cartier, refuse to import these stones based on reports of deplorable working conditions in the mines. sony VPCF11C5E battery

 

sony VPCF12S1E/B batteryHuman Rights Watch has encouraged a complete ban on the purchase of Burmese gems based on these reports and because nearly all profits go to the ruling junta, as the majority of mining activity in the country is government-run.[214sony VPCF11D4E battery

sony VPC-F11M1E/H battery

sony VPCF13Z8E/BI battery] The government of Burma controls the gem trade by direct ownership or by joint ventures with private owners of mines.[215]

 

Other industries include agricultural goods, textiles, wood products, construction materials, gems, metals, oil and natural gas.

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Apartment building in Naypyidaw, the new capital of Burma

Tourism[edit]

Main article: Tourism in Burma

Since 1992, the government has encouraged tourism in the country; however, fewer than 270,000 tourists entered the country in 2006 according to the Myanmar Tourism Promotion Board.[216] Burma’s Minister of Hotels and Tourism Saw Lwin has stated that the government receives a significant percentage of the income of private sector tourism services.[217]

 

The most popular available tourist destinations in Burma include big cities such as Yangon and Mandalay; religious sites in Mon State, Pindaya, Bago and Hpa-An; nature trails in Inle Lake, Kengtung, Putao, Pyin Oo Lwin; ancient cities such as Bagan and Mrauk-U; as well as beaches in Ngapali, Ngwe-Saung, Mergui.[218] Nevertheless much of the country is off-limits to tourists, and interactions between foreigners and the people of Burma, particularly in the border regions, are subject to police scrutiny. They are not to discuss politics with foreigners, under penalty of imprisonment and, in 2001, the Myanmar Tourism Promotion Board issued an order for local officials to protect tourists and limit “unnecessary contact” between foreigners and ordinary Burmese people.[219]

 

The only way for travelers to enter the country seems to be by air.[220] According to the website Lonely Planet, getting into Burma (Myanmar) is problematic: “No bus or train service connects Myanmar with another country, nor can you travel by car or motorcycle across the border – you must walk across.”, sony VPCF2 battery

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sony VPCF11C4E/B battery and states that, “It is not possible for foreigners to go to/from Myanmar by sea or river.”[220] They do say that there are a small number of border crossings, sony VPCF22J1E battery

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sony VPCF13M1E/B batterybut that these are limiting in that they do not allow travel into the country “You can cross from Ruili (China) to Mu-se, but not leave that way. From Mae Sai (Thailand) you can cross to Tachileik, but can only go as far as Kengtung. Those in Thailand on a visa run can cross to Kawthaung but cannot venture farther into Myanmar.”[220]

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Flights are available from most countries, though direct flights are limited to mainly Thai and other ASEAN airlines. According to Eleven magazine, “In the past, there were only 15 international airlines and increasing numbers of airlines have began launching direct flights from Japan, Qatar, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany and Singapore.”[2sony VPCF22S8E battery

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21] Expansions were expected in September 2013, but yet again are mainly Thai and other Asian based airlines according to Eleven Media Group’s Eleven, “Thailand-based Nok Air and Business Airlines and Singapore-based Tiger Airline”.[221] sony VPCF23Q1E battery

 

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Economic Sanctions[edit]

The Government of Burma is under economic sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department (31 CFR Part 537, 16 August 2005)[222] and by Executive orders 13047 (1997),[223] 13310 (2003),[223] 13448 (2007),[223] 13464 (2008),[ sony VPCF231S1E battery

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sony VPCF13J0E/H battery223] and the most recent, 13619 (2012).[224] Debate as to the extent to which the American-led sanctions have had adverse effects on the civilian population or on the military rulers.[225][226]

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From May 2012 to February 2013, the United States began to lift its economic sanctions on Burma “in response to the historic reforms that have been taking place in that country.”[227] Sanctions remain in place for blocked banks[2sony VPCF11S1E battery

 

sony VPCF13E8E battery28] and for any business entities that are more than 50% owned by persons on “OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list (SDN list)”.[229]

 

Government stakeholders in business[edit]

Main article: Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings

The military has the majority stakeholder position in all of the major industrial corporations of the country (from oil production and consumer goods to transportation and tourism).[199][200]

 

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Economic liberalization post 2011[edit]

In March 2012, a draft foreign investment law emerged, the first in more than 2 decades. Foreigners will no longer require a local partner to start a business in the country, and will be able to legally lease but not own property.[2sony VPCF11C4E/B battery

 

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sony VPCF12M1E/H battery30] The draft law also stipulates that Burmese citizens must constitute at least 25% of the firm’s skilled workforce, and with subsequent training, up to 50-75%.[230]

 

In 2012, the Asian Development Bank formally began re-engaging with the country, to finance infrastructure and development projects in the country. [23sony VPCF11Z1E/BI battery

sony VPCF12E1E/H battery1] The United States, Japan and the European Union countries have also begun to reduce or eliminate economic sanctions to allow foreign direct investment which will provide the Burmese government with additional tax revenue.[232]

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sony VPCF13E8E battery A block of flats in down-town Yangon, facing Bogyoke Market. Much of Yangon’s urban population resides in densely populated flats.

Burma has a population of about 56 million.[23sony VPCF11C4E/B battery

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sony VPCF13E4E battery3] Population figures are rough estimates because the last partial census, conducted by the Ministry of Home and Religious Affairs under the control of the military junta, was taken in 1983.[23sony VPCF11D4E battery

 

sony VPCF12M1E/H battery4] No trustworthy nationwide census has been taken in Burma since 1931. There are over 600,000 registered migrant workers from Burma in Thailand, and millions more work illegally. Burmese migrant workers account for 80% of Thailand’s migrant workers.[2sony VPC-F11M1E/H battery

 

sony VPCF12F4E/H battery35] Burma has a population density of 75 per square kilometre (190 /sq mi), one of the lowest in Southeast Asia. Refugee camps exist along Indian, Bangladeshi and Thai borders while several thousand are in Malaysia. Conservative estimates state that there are over 295,800 refugees from Burma, sony VPCF11S1E/B battery

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sony VPCF12E1E/H battery with the majority being Karenni, and Kayin and are principally located along the Thai-Burma border.[236] There are nine permanent refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border,

 

sony VPCF11Z1E/BI batterymost of which were established in the mid-1980s. The refugee camps are under the care of the Thai-Burma Border Consortium (TBBC). Since 2006,[237] over 55,000 Burmese refugees have been resettled in the United States.[238]

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There are over 53.42 million Buddhists, over 2.98 million Christians, over 2.27 million Muslims, over 300,000 Hindus and over 790,000 of those who believe in other religions in the country, according to an answer by Union Minister at Myanmar Parliament on 8 September 2011.[239]

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Ne Win’s rise to power in 1962 and his relentless persecution of “resident aliens” (immigrant groups not recognised as citizens of the Union of Burma) led to an exodus/expulsion of some 300,000 Burmese Indians.[24sony VPCF22L1E battery

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sony VPCF11S1E battery0] They migrated to escape racial discrimination and wholesale nationalisation of private enterprise a few years later in 1964.[241] The Anglo-Burmese at this time either fled the country or changed their names and blended in with the broader Burmese society. sony VPCF22S1E battery

 

 

Many Rohingya Muslims fled Burma and many refugees inundated neighbouring Bangladesh including 200,000 in 1978 as a result of the King Dragon operation in Arakan[242] and 250,000 in 1991.[243] sony VPCF22S8E battery

 

 

Burma is home to four major language families: Sino-Tibetan, Tai–Kadai, Austro-Asiatic, and Indo-European.[24sony VPCF23M1E battery

4] Sino-Tibetan languages are most widely spoken. They include Burmese, Karen, Kachin, Chin, and Chinese. The primary Tai–Kadai language is Shan. Mon, Palaung, and Wa are the major Austroasiatic languages spoken in Burma. sony VPCF23Q1E battery

 

sony VPCF24M1E battery The two major Indo-European languages are Pali, the liturgical language of Theravada Buddhism, and English.[245]

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According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, Burma’s official literacy rate as of 2000 was 89.9%.[246] Historically, Burma has had high literacy rates. To qualify for least developed country status by the UN in order to receive debt relief, sony VPCF13J0E/H battery

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sony VPCF13M0E/B battery Burma lowered its official literacy rate from 78.6% to 18.7% in 1987.[247][clarification needed]

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Burma is ethnically diverse. The government recognises 135 distinct ethnic groups. While it is extremely difficult to verify this statement, sony VPCF11C4E/B battery

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sony VPCF13M8E/B battery there are at least 108 different ethnolinguistic groups in Burma, consisting mainly of distinct Tibeto-Burman peoples, but with sizeable populations of Tai–Kadai, Hmong–Mien, and Austroasiatic (Mon–Khmer) peoples.[248] The Bamar form an estimated 68% of the population.[2sony VPCF13Z8E/BI battery

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sony VPCF12M0E/B battery49] 10% of the population are Shan.[249] The Kayin make up 7% of the population.[249] The Rakhine people constitute 4% of the population. Overseas Chinese form approximately 3% of the population.[249][2sony VPCF13M1E/H battery

 

sony VPCF12S1E/B battery50] Burma’s ethnic minority groups prefer the term “ethnic nationality” over “ethnic minority” as the term “minority” furthers their sense of insecurity in the face of what is often described as “Burmanisation”—the proliferation and domination of the dominant Bamar culture over minority cultures. sony VPCF21Z1E/BI battery

 

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Mon, who form 2% of the population, are ethno-linguistically related to the Khmer.[249] Overseas Indians are 2%.[249sony VPCF24Q1E battery

 

sony VPCF13S0E/B battery] The remainder are Kachin, Chin, Anglo-Indians, Gurkha, Nepali and other ethnic minorities. Included in this group are the Anglo-Burmese. Once forming a large and influential community, sony VPCF23P1E battery

 

sony VPCF13S1E/B batterythe Anglo-Burmese left the country in steady streams from 1958 onwards, principally to Australia and the U.K.. Today, it is estimated that only 52,000 Anglo-Burmese remain in the country. There are 110,000 Burmese refugees in Thai border camps.[251] sony VPCF23N1E battery

 

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89% of the country’s population are Buddhist, according to a report on ABC World News Tonight in May 2008 and the Buddha Dharma Education Association.[252]

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Language[edit]

Main article: Languages of Burma

Burmese, the mother tongue of the Bamar and official language of Burma, is related to Tibetan and to the Chinese languages.[24Sony VPCZ21L9E/B battery
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Sony VPCZ11V9R/B battery 5] It is written in a script consisting of circular and semi-circular letters, which were adapted from the Mon script, which in turn was developed from a southern Indian script in the 8th century. Sony VPCZ21S9E/B battery

Sony VPCZ11E7E battery The earliest known inscriptions in the Burmese script date from the 11th century. It is also used to write Pali, the sacred language of Theravada Buddhism, as well as several ethnic minority languages, including Shan, several Karen dialects, Sony VPCZ21V9E/B battery
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Sony VPCZ11D7E battery and Kayah (Karenni), with the addition of specialised characters and diacritics for each language.[253Sony VPCZ13A7E battery
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Sony VPCZ11C7E battery] The Burmese language incorporates widespread usage of honorifics and is age-oriented.[254] Burmese society has traditionally stressed the importance of education. In villages, secular schooling often takes place in monasteries. Secondary and tertiary education take place at government schools. Sony VPCZ13C7E battery
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Religion[edit]

Main articles: Religion in Burma, Buddhism in Burma, Hinduism in Burma, Christianity in Burma, Islam in Burma, and History of the Jews in Burma

Religion in Burma

Buddhism         Sony VPCZ13E7E battery
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Many religions are practised in Burma. Religious edifices and orders have been in existence for many years. Festivals can be held on a grand scale. The Christian and Muslim populations do, however, face religious persecution and it is hard, Sony VPCZ13F7E battery
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if not impossible, for non-Buddhists to join the army or get government jobs, the main route to success in the country.[255] Such persecution and targeting of civilians is particularly notable in Eastern Burma, where over 3000 villages have been destroyed in the past ten years.[256][257] Sony VPCZ12S9R/B battery

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[258] More than 200,000 Rohingya Muslims have settled in Bangladesh over the last 20 years to escape persecution.[259]

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Sony VPCZ12C5E batteryIn February 2012, 1000 Buddhist monks and followers gathered for the 18th annual Shwegyin Nikaya Conference at the compound of Dhammaduta Zetawon Tawya Monastery in Hmawbi Township, Yangon Region.

89% of the population embraces Buddhism (mostly Theravāda). Other religions are practiced largely without obstruction, Sony VPCZ12V9E/X battery
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Sony VPCZ12B7E batterywith the notable exception of some ethnic minorities such as the Muslim Rohingya people, who have continued to have their citizenship status denied and treated as illegal immigrants instead,[1Sony VPCZ12X9E/X battery
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Sony VPCZ12A7E battery72] and Christians in Chin State.[260] 4% of the population practices Islam; 4% Christianity; 1% traditional animistic beliefs; and 2% follow other religions, including Mahayana Buddhism, Sony VPCZ12F7E battery
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Sony VPCZ11Z9R/B battery Hinduism, East Asian religions and the Bahá’í Faith.[261][262][263] However, according to a U.S. State Department’s 2010 international religious freedom report, official statistics are alleged to underestimate the non-Buddhist population. Sony VPCZ12H7E battery
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Sony VPCZ11X9R/B battery Independent researchers put the Muslim population at 6 to 10% of the population. A tiny Jewish community in Rangoon had a synagogue but no resident rabbi to conduct services.[264]
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Although Hinduism is presently only practiced by 1% of the population, it was a major religion in Burma’s past. Several strains of Hinduism existed alongside both Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism in the Pyu period in the first millennium CE,[26Sony VPCZ12J7E battery
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Sony VPCZ12X9R/B battery5] and down to the Pagan period (9th to 13th centuries) when “Saivite and Vaishana elements enjoyed greater elite influence than they would later do.”[266]

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Culture[edit]

 

Main article: Culture of Burma

 

 

Rama (Yama) and Sita (Me Thida) in the Burmese version of the Ramayana, Yama Zatdaw.

A diverse range of indigenous cultures exist in Burma, the majority culture is primarily Buddhist and Bamar. Bamar culture has been influenced by the cultures of neighbouring countries. This is manifested in its language, cuisine, music, Sony VGN-NW20ZF Battery
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Sony VGN-FW56ZR Battery dance and theatre. The arts, particularly literature, have historically been influenced by the local form of Theravada Buddhism. Considered the national epic of Burma, the Yama Zatdaw, an adaptation of India’s Ramayana, has been influenced greatly by Thai, Mon, and Indian versions of the play.[ Sony VGN-NW26M Battery
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Sony VGN-SR59VG/H Battery267] Buddhism is practised along with nat worship, which involves elaborate rituals to propitiate one from a pantheon of 37 nats.[268][269]

 

Mohinga, traditional Burmese rice noodles in fish soup, is widely considered to be Burma’s national dish.

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In a traditional village, the monastery is the centre of cultural life. Monks are venerated and supported by the lay people. A novitiation ceremony called shinbyu is the most important coming of age events for a boy, during which he enters the monastery for a short time.[27Sony VGN-FW46M Battery
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Sony VGN-SR57X Battery0] All male children in Buddhist families are encouraged to be a novice (beginner for Buddhism) before the age of twenty and to be a monk after the age of twenty. Girls have ear-piercing ceremonies (နားSony VGN-FW51 Battery
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Sony VGN-SR57V Batteryသ) at the same time.[270] Burmese culture is most evident in villages where local festivals are held throughout the year, the most important being the pagoda festival.[254][271] Many villages have a guardian nat, and superstition and taboos are commonplace. Sony VGN-FW41J/H Battery

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Thingyan festival, the Burmese New Year

British colonial rule introduced Western elements of culture to Burma. Burma’s education system is modelled after that of the United Kingdom. Colonial architectural influences are most evident in major cities such as Yangon.[27Sony VGN-FW41M/H Battery
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Sony VGN-FW56Z Battery2] Many ethnic minorities, particularly the Karen in the southeast and the Kachin and Chin who populate the north and northeast, practice Christianity.[273] According to the The World Factbook, Sony VGN-FW56M Battery
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Sony VGN-SR49VN/H Battery the Burman population is 68% and the ethnic groups constitute 32%. However, the exiled leaders and organisations claims that ethnic population is 40%, which is implicitly contrasted with CIA report (official U.S. report).

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Art[edit]

Main article: Burmese contemporary art

Burmese contemporary art has developed rather on its own terms and quite rapidly.
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One of the first to study western art was Ba Nyan. Together with Ngwe Gaing and a handful of other artists, they were pioneers of western painting style in Burma. Later, most of the students learnt from masters through apprenticeship. Sony VGN-FW56J Battery
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Sony VGN-FW54S Battery Some well known contemporary artists are Lun Gywe, Aung Kyaw Htet, MPP Yei Myint, Myint Swe, Min Wai Aung, Aung Myint and Po Po.

 

Most of the young artists who were born in the 1980s have greater chances of art practises inside and outside the country. Performance art is a popular genre among Burmese young artists.
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Media[edit]

Main article: Media of Burma

Due to Burma’s political climate, there are not many media companies in relation to the country’s population, although a certain number exists. Some are privately owned. All programming must meet with the approval of the censorship board.
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The Burmese government announced on 20 August 2012 that it will stop censoring media before publication. Following the announcement, newspapers and other outlets no longer required approved by state censors; however, journalists in the country can still face consequences for what they write and say.[274]

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Burma was in the attention of the media’s eye when on 18 November 2012 Barack Obama visited the country, making it the first time a sitting U.S. president has traveled there.[275]
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In April 2013, international media reports were published to relay the enactment of the media liberalisation reforms that we announced in August 2012. For the first time in numerous decades, the publication of privately owned newspapers commenced in the country.[276]

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Film[edit]

Main article: Cinema of Burma

Burma’s first film was a documentary of the funeral of Tun Shein – a leading politician of the 1910s, who campaigned for Burmese independence in London. The first Burmese silent film Myitta Ne Thuya (Love and Liquor) Sony VGN-NW24MR Battery
Sony VGN-NW26EG Battery in 1920 which proved a major success, despite its poor quality due to a fixed camera position and inadequate film accessories. During the 1920s and 1930s, many Burmese-owned film companies made and produced several films. Sony VGN-SR49VT/H Battery
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Sony VGN-FW11ZU battery The first Burmese sound film was produced in 1932 in Bombay, India with the title Ngwe Pay Lo Ma Ya (Money Can’t Buy It). After World War II, Burmese cinema continued to address political themes. Many of the films produced in the early Cold War era had a strong propaganda element to them.
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In the era that followed the political events of 1988, the film industry has been increasingly controlled by the government. Film stars who had been involved in the political activities were banned from appearing in films. The government issues strict rules on censorship and largely determines who produces films, as well as who gets academy awards.[ Sony VGN-NW21JF battery
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Sony VGN-FW11E battery277]

 

Over the years, the movie industry has also shifted to producing many lower budget direct-to-video films.

 

Most of the movies produced nowadays are comedies.[278] In 2008, only 12 films worthy of being considered for an Academy Award were made, although at least 800 VCDs were produced.[279]

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Burma is the primary subject of a 2007 graphic novel titled Chroniques Birmanes by Québécois author and animator, Guy Delisle. The graphic novel was translated into English under the title Burma Chronicles in 2008. In 2009, a documentary about Burmese videojournalists called Burma VJ was released.[2Sony VGN-NW21ZF battery

Sony VGN-FW21M battery80] This film was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2010 Academy Awards.[281] The Lady (2011 film) had its world premiere on 12 September 2011 at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival.

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Sony VGN-FW21L batteryMen playing chinlone

The Lethwei, Bando, Banshay, Pongyi thaing martial arts and chinlone are the national sports in Burma.[citation needed]

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Sony VGN-FW21J batteryBurma, which has a total area of 678,500 square kilometres (262,000 sq mi), is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia, and the 40th-largest in the world. It lies between latitudes 9° and 29°N, and longitudes 92° and 102°E. As of February 2011, Burma consisted of 14 states and regions, Sony VGN-SR11M Battery

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67 districts, 330 townships, 64 sub-townships, 377 towns, 2914 Wards, 14220 village tracts and 68290 villages.

 

It is bordered on the northwest by the Chittagong Division of Bangladesh and the Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh states of India. Its north and northeast border straddles the Tibet Autonomous Region and Yunnan province for a Sino-Burman border total of 2,185 km (1,358 mi). Sony VGN-SR19VN Battery

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Sony VGN-SR59XG/H Battery It is bounded by Laos and Thailand to the southeast. Burma has 1,930 km (1,200 mi) of contiguous coastline along the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea to the southwest and the south, which forms one quarter of its total perimeter.[21]

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In the north, the Hengduan Mountains form the border with China. Hkakabo Razi, located in Kachin State, at an elevation of 5,881 metres (19,295 ft), is the highest point in Burma.[283] Many mountain ranges, such as the Rakhine Yoma, Sony VGN-SR21RM/H Battery

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the Bago Yoma, the Shan Hills and the Tenasserim Hills exist within Burma, all of which run north-to-south from the Himalayas.[284] The mountain chains divide Burma’s three river systems, which are the Irrawaddy, Salween (Thanlwin), Sony VGN-SR31M Battery

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and the Sittaung rivers.[285] The Irrawaddy River, Burma’s longest river, nearly 2,170 kilometres (1,348 mi) long, flows into the Gulf of Martaban. Fertile plains exist in the valleys between the mountain chains.[ Sony VGN-SR41M/S Battery

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Sony VGN-SR57V Battery284] The majority of Burma’s population lives in the Irrawaddy valley, which is situated between the Rakhine Yoma and the Shan Plateau.

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Administrative divisions (regions and states)[edit]

Main article: Administrative divisions of Burma

A clickable map of Burma/Myanmar exhibiting its first-level administrative divisions.

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The country is divided into seven states (ပြည်နယ်) and seven regions (တိုင်းဒေသကြီး), formerly called divisions.[286] The announcement on the renaming of division to regions was made on 20 August 2010.[28Sony VGN-SR39VN/S Battery

 

Sony VGN-SR45H/P Battery7] Regions are predominantly Bamar (that is, mainly inhabited by the dominant ethnic group). States, in essence, are regions that are home to particular ethnic minorities. The administrative divisions are further subdivided into districts, which are further subdivided into townships, wards, and villages.

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Limestone landscape of Mon State

Much of the country lies between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator. It lies in the monsoon region of Asia, with its coastal regions receiving over 5,000 mm (196.9 in) Sony VGN-SR29VN/S Battery

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Sony VGN-SR45H/B Battery of rain annually. Annual rainfall in the delta region is approximately 2,500 mm (98.4 in), while average annual rainfall in the Dry Zone, which is located in central Burma, is less than 1,000 mm (39.4 in). Sony VGN-SR31M/S Battery

 

Sony VGN-SR51B Battery Northern regions of the country are the coolest, with average temperatures of 21 °C (70 °F). Coastal and delta regions have an average maximum temperature of 32 °C (89.6 °F).[285] Sony VGN-SR49VN/H Battery

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Wildlife[edit]

The country’s slow economic growth has contributed to the preservation of much of its environment and ecosystems. Forests, including dense tropical growth and valuable teak in lower Burma, cover over 49% of the country, Sony VPCF11C4E/B Battery

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including areas of acacia, bamboo, ironwood and michelia champaca. Coconut and betel palm and rubber have been introduced. In the highlands of the north, oak, pine and various rhododendrons cover much of the land. Sony VPCF11D4E Battery

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[289] Heavy logging since the new 1995 forestry law went into effect has seriously reduced forest acreage and wildlife habitat.[2Sony VPCF11S1E/B Battery

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90] The lands along the coast support all varieties of tropical fruits and once had large areas of mangroves although much of the protective mangroves have disappeared. In much of central Burma (the Dry Zone), vegetation is sparse and stunted.

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Typical jungle animals, particularly tigers and leopards, occur sparsely in Burma. In upper Burma, there are rhinoceros, wild buffalo, wild boars, deer, antelope, and elephants, which are also tamed or bred in captivity for use as work animals, particularly in the lumber industry. Smaller mammals are also numerous, Sony VPCF22J1E Battery

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Sony VPCF13M1E/B Batteryranging from gibbons and monkeys to flying foxes and tapirs. The abundance of birds is notable with over 800 species, including parrots, peafowl, pheasants, crows, herons, and paddybirds. Among reptile species there are crocodiles, geckos, cobras, Burmese pythons, and turtles. Hundreds of species of freshwater fish are wide-ranging, plentiful and are very important food sources.[29Sony VPCF22M1E Battery

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Sony VPCF1318E/H Battery1] For a list of protected areas, see List of protected areas of Burma.

 

Health[edit]

 

Main article: Health in Burma

Further information: HIV/AIDS in Burma

The general state of health care in Myanmar (Burma) is poor. The government spends anywhere from 0.5% to 3% of the country’s GDP on health care, consistently ranking among the lowest in the world.[292][293] Sony VPCF22S1E Battery

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Although health care is nominally free, in reality, patients have to pay for medicine and treatment, even in public clinics and hospitals. Public hospitals lack many of the basic facilities and equipment.

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HIV/AIDS, recognised as a disease of concern by the Burmese Ministry of Health, is most prevalent among sex workers and intravenous drug users. In 2005, the estimated adult HIV prevalence rate in Burma was 1.3% Sony VPCF23Q1E Battery

 

Sony VPCF12M1E/H Battery  (200,000–570,000 people), according to UNAIDS, and early indicators of any progress against the HIV epidemic are inconsistent.[294][295][296] However, the National AIDS Programme Burma found that 32% of sex workers and 43% of intravenous drug users in Burma have HIV.[296] Sony VPCF231S1E Battery

 

 

Burma’s government spends the least percentage of its GDP on health care of any country in the world, and international donor organisations give less to Burma, per capita, than any other country except India.[29Sony VPCF23S1E Battery

 

Sony VPCF12F4E/H Battery7] According to the report named “Preventable Fate”, published by Doctors without Borders, 25,000 Burmese AIDS patients died in 2007, deaths that could largely have been prevented by antiretroviral therapy drugs and proper treatment.[297]

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In June 2011, the United Nations Population Fund released a report on The State of the World’s Midwifery. It contained new data on the midwifery workforce and policies relating to newborn and maternal mortality for 58 countries. Sony VPCF11S1E Battery

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Sony VPCF11Z1E/BI BatteryThe 2010 maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for Myanmar is 240. This is compared with 219.3 in 2008 and 662 in 1990. The under 5 mortality rate, per 1,000 births is 73 and the neonatal mortality as a percentage of under 5′s mortality is 47.

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Sony VPCF13M0E/B BatteryMain article: Education in Burma

 

 

Yangon University of Medicine 1

The educational system of Burma is operated by the government agency, the Ministry of Education. Universities and professional institutes from upper Burma and lower Burma are run by two separate entities, Sony VPCF13Z8E/BI Battery

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Sony VPCF13Z0E/B Battery the Department of Higher Education of Upper Burma and the Department of Higher Education of Lower Burma. Headquarters are based in Yangon and Mandalay respectively. Sony VPCF12Z1E/BI Battery

 

Sony VPCF13M8E/B Battery The education system is based on the United Kingdom’s system, due to nearly a century of British and Christian presences in Burma. Nearly all schools are government-operated, Sony VPCF13M1E/H Battery

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Sony VPCF12M0E/B Batterybut there has been a recent increase in privately funded English language schools. Schooling is compulsory until the end of elementary school, probably about 9 years old, while the compulsory schooling age is 15 or 16 at international level.

 

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There are 101 universities, 12 institutes, 9 degree colleges and 24 colleges in Burma, a total of 146 higher education institutions.[298]

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Sony VPCF12Z1E BatteryStudents on their way to school, Kalaymyo, Sagaing Region, Burma

There are 10 Technical Training Schools, 23 nursing training schools, 1 sport academy and 20 midwifery schools.

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There are 2047 Basic Education High Schools, 2605 Basic Education Middle Schools, 29944 Basic Education Primary Schools and 5952 Post Primary Schools. 1692 multimedia classrooms exist within this system.

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There are four international schools acknowledged by WASC and College Board—The International School Yangon (ISY), Crane International School Yangon (CISM), Yangon International School (YIS) and International School of Myanmar (ISM) in Yangon.

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Internet[edit]

 

Main article: Internet in Burma

Gnome globe current event.svg

This section’s factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (June 2013) Sony VPCY21S1E/G Battery

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In Burma, Internet access for the public is less than 1%, through Internet cafes. Activity at these businesses is highly regulated. There is censorship, and the authorities take the opportunity to view e-mail and posts in the Internet blogs. Sony VGN-AR61ZRU Battery

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At least two Myanmar bloggers have been sent to prison. One of them, known by the name of Zarganar, was sentenced to 59 years in prison for publishing a video of destruction caused by the “Nargis” Cyclone in 2008; Zarganar was released on October 12, 2011.

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Sony VGN-AR21M BatteryMain article: Burmese units of measurement

According to The World Factbook, Burma is one of three countries along with Liberia and the United States of America that has not adopted the International System of Units (SI) metric system as their official system of weights and measures.[29Sony VGN-AR71J Battery

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Sony VGN-AR21B Battery9] The common units of measure are unique to Burma, but the government web pages use both imperial units[3Sony VGN-AR71M Battery

 

Sony VGN-AR11SR Battery00] and metric units.[301] In June 2011, the Burmese government’s Ministry of Commerce began discussing proposals to reform the measurement system and adopt the metric system used by most of its trading partners.[ Sony VGN-AR71MR Battery

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Sony VGN-AR11S Battery302] On 10 October 2013, Dr. Pwint San, Deputy Minister for Commerce, announced that the country is preparing to adopt the metric system[303]

Yangon also known as Rangoon, literally: “End of Strife”) is a former capital of Burma (Myanmar) and the capital of Yangon Region. Although the military government has officially relocated the capital to Naypyidaw since March 2006,[ sony VPCEH12FX battery

3] Yangon, with a population of over five million, continues to be the country’s largest city and the most important commercial centre.

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Although Yangon’s infrastructure is undeveloped compared to those of other major cities in Southeast Asia, it has the largest number of colonial buildings in the region today.[4

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] While many high-rise residential and commercial buildings have been constructed or renovated throughout downtown and Greater Yangon in the past two decades, most satellite towns that ring the city continue to be deeply impoverished. sony VPCEH13FX battery

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Yangon (ရန်ကုန်) is a combination of the two words yan (ရန်) and koun (ကုန်), which mean “enemies” and “run out of” respectively. It is also translated as “End of Strife”. “Rangoon” most likely comes from the British imitation of the pronunciation of “Yangon” in the Rakhine dialect (Arakanese) of Burmese, which is [rɔ̀ɴɡʊ́ɴ]. sony VPCEH16FX battery

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Yangon was founded as Dagon in the early 11th century (circa 1028–1043) by the Mon, who dominated Lower Burma at that time.[5sony VPCEH190X battery

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sony VPCEH34FX battery] Dagon was a small fishing village centred about the Shwedagon Pagoda. In 1755, King Alaungpaya conquered Dagon, renamed it “Yangon”, and added settlements around Dagon. The British captured Yangon during the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–26), sony VPCEH1BFX battery

 

sony VPCEH32FX batterybut returned it to Burmese administration after the war. The city was destroyed by a fire in 1841.[6]

One of many houses destroyed during Cyclone Nargis

The British seized Yangon and all of Lower Burma in the Second Anglo-Burmese War of 1852, and subsequently transformed Yangon into the commercial and political hub of British Burma. Based on the design by army engineer Lt. Alexander Fraser, sony VPCEH1CFX battery

 

sony VPCEH2CFX batterythe British constructed a new city on a grid plan on delta land, bounded to the east by the Pazundaung Creek and to the south and west by the Yangon River. Yangon became the capital of all British Burma after the British had captured Upper Burma in the Third Anglo-Burmese War of 1885. sony VPCEH1DFX battery

 

sony VPCEH290X batteryBy the 1890s Yangon’s increasing population and commerce gave birth to prosperous residential suburbs to the north of Royal Lake (Kandawgyi) and Inya Lake.[7] The British also established hospitals including Rangoon General Hospital and colleges including Rangoon University. sony VPCEH2AFX battery

 

 

Colonial Yangon, with its spacious parks and lakes and mix of modern buildings and traditional wooden architecture, was known as “the garden city of the East.”[7] By the early 20th century, Yangon had public services and infrastructure on par with London.[8]

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Before World War II, about 55% of Yangon’s population of 500,000 was Indian or South Asian, and only about a third was Bamar (Burman).[9] Karens, the Chinese, the Anglo-Burmese and others made up the rest.

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After World War I, Yangon became the epicentre of Burmese independence movement, with leftist Rangoon University students leading the way. Three nationwide strikes against the British Empire in 1920, sony VPCEH23FX battery

sony VPCEH24FX battery 1936 and 1938 all began in Yangon. Yangon was under Japanese occupation (1942–45), and incurred heavy damage during World War II. The city was retaken by the Allies in May 1945. sony SVE1513MCXS battery

Yangon became the capital of Union of Burma on 4 January 1948 when the country regained independence from the British Empire.

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Contemporary Yangon[edit]

Soon after Burma’s independence in 1948, many colonial names of streets and parks were changed to more nationalistic Burmese names. In 1989, the current military junta changed the city’s English name to “Yangon”,sony SVE15137CXS battery

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sony SVE1511KFXW battery along with many other changes in English transliteration of Burmese names. (The changes have not been accepted by many Burmese who consider the junta unfit to make such changes, nor by many publications, news bureaux including, most notably, the BBC and foreign nations including the United Kingdom and United States.)[10][11]

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Since independence, Yangon has expanded outwards. Successive governments have built satellite towns such as Thaketa, North Okkalapa and South Okkalapa in the 1950s to Hlaingthaya, Shwepyitha and South Dagon in the 1980s.[6] Today, Greater Yangon encompasses an area covering nearly 600 square kilometres (230 sq mi).[1] sony SVE1512GCXW battery

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During Ne Win’s isolationist rule (1962–88), Yangon’s infrastructure deteriorated through poor maintenance and did not keep up with its increasing population. In the 1990s, sony SVE15115MFXS battery

 

sony SVE1511HFXW battery the current military government’s more open market policies attracted domestic and foreign investment, bringing a modicum of modernity to the city’s infrastructure. Some inner city residents were forcibly relocated to new satellite towns. sony SVE15124CXS battery

 

sony SVE1511GFXW battery Many colonial-period buildings were demolished to make way for high-rise hotels, office buildings, and shopping malls,[1sony SVE15126CXS battery

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sony SVE1511DFYS battery2] leading the city government to place about 200 notable colonial-period buildings under the Yangon City Heritage List in 1996.[13sony SVE15135CXS battery

 

sony SVE1511CFXS battery] Major building programs have resulted in six new bridges and five new highways linking the city to its industrial back country.[14][15][16] Still, much of Yangon remains without basic municipal services such as 24-hour electricity and regular garbage collection.

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Yangon has become much more indigenous Burmese in its ethnic make-up since independence. After independence, many South Asians and Anglo-Burmese left. Many more South Asians were forced to leave during the 1960s by Ne Win’s xenophobic government.[9sony SVE15112FXS battery

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sony SVE1411CFXW battery] Nevertheless, sizable South Asian and Chinese communities still exist in Yangon. The Anglo-Burmese have effectively disappeared, having left the country or intermarried with other Burmese groups.

 

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Yangon was the centre of major anti-government protests in 1974, 1988 and 2007. The 1988 People Power Uprising resulted in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of Burmese civilians,

 

sony SVE14A190X battery many in Yangoon where hundreds of thousands of people flooded into the streets of the then capital city. The Saffron Revolution saw mass shootings and the use of crematoria in Yangoon by the Burmese government to erase evidence of their crimes against monks, unarmed protesters, journalists and students.[17] sony SVE15114FXS battery

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In May 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit Yangon. While the city had few human casualties, three quarters of Yangon’s industrial infrastructure was destroyed or damaged, with losses estimated at US$800 million.[18] sony SVE151190X battery

 

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In November 2005, the military government designated Naypyidaw, 320 kilometres (199 mi) north of Yangon, as the new administrative capital, and subsequently moved much of the government to the newly developed city. At any rate, Yangon remains the largest city, and the most important commercial centre of Burma. sony SVE1511NFXS battery

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Yangon metropolitan area

Yangon is located in Lower Burma (Myanmar) at the convergence of the Yangon and Bago Rivers about 30 km(19 mi) away from the Gulf of Martaban at 16°48′ North, 96°09′ East (16.8, 96.15). Its standard time zone is UTC/GMT +6:30 hours.

 

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Climate[edit]

Yangon has a tropical monsoon climate under the Köppen climate classification system.[19] The city features a lengthy rainy season from May through October where a substantial amount of rainfall is received; sony SVE1512JCXW battery

 

sony SVE1522CX battery and a dry season from November through April, where little rainfall is seen. It is primarily due to the heavy precipitation received during the rainy season that Yangon falls under the tropical monsoon climate category. sony SVE1512KCXS battery

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sony SVE1513KCXS batteryDuring the course of the year, average temperatures show little variance, with average highs ranging from 29 to 36 °C (84 to 97 °F) and average lows ranging from 18 to 25 °C (64 to 77 °F). sony SVE1513BCXS battery

 

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Until the mid-1990s, Yangon remained largely constrained to its traditional peninsula setting between the Bago, Yangon and Hlaing rivers. People moved in, but little of the city moved out. Maps from 1944 show little development north of Inya Lake and areas that are now layered in cement and stacked with houses were then virtual backwaters. sony SVE1513HCXS battery

 

sony SVE151290X batterySince the late 1980s, however, the city began a rapid spread north to where Yangon International airport now stands. But the result is a stretching tail on the city, with the downtown area well removed from its geographic centre.[23sony SVE1513JCXW battery

sony SVE15128CXS battery] The city’s area has steadily increased from 72.52 square kilometres (28.00 sq mi) in 1901 to 86.2 square kilometres (33.3 sq mi) in 1940 to 208.51 square kilometres (80.51 sq mi) in 1974, to 346.13 square kilometres (133.64 sq mi) in 1985, sony SVE1713ACXB battery

 

sony SVE17137CXB battery and to 598.75 square kilometres (231.18 sq mi) in 2008.[1][24]

A colonial-era building

Downtown Yangon is known for its leafy avenues and fin-de-siècle architecture.[25] The former British colonial capital has the highest number of colonial period buildings in Southeast Asia.[4] Downtown Yangon is still mainly made up of decaying colonial buildings. sony SVE1713BCXB battery

 

sony SVE171290X battery The former High Court, the former Secretariat buildings, the former St. Paul’s English High School and the Strand Hotel are excellent examples of the bygone era. Most downtown buildings from this era are four-story mix-use (residential andsony SVE1713CCXB battery

 

sony SVE17135CXB battery  commercial) buildings with 14-foot (4.3 m) ceilings, allowing for the construction of mezzanines. Despite their less-than-perfect conditions, the buildings remain highly sought after and most expensive in the city’s property market.[26]

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In 1996, the Yangon City Development Committee created a Yangon City Heritage List of old buildings and structures in the city that cannot be modified or torn down without approval.[27] In 2012,

 

sony SVE17127CXB battery the city of Yangon imposed a 50 year moratorium on demolition of buildings older than 50 years.[28] The Yangon Heritage Trust, an NGO started by Thant Myint-U, aims to create heritage areas in Downtown, and attract investors to renovate buildings for commercial use.[28]

 

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A latter day hallmark of Yangon is the eight-story apartment building. (In Yangon parlance, a building with no elevators (lifts) is called an apartment building and one with elevators is called a condominium.[29sony SVE1713ECXB battery

 

sony SVE17122CXB battery] Condos which have to invest in a local power generator to ensure 24-hour electricity for the elevators are beyond the reach of most Yangonites.) Found throughout the city in various forms, eight-story apartment buildings provide relatively inexpensive housing for many Yangonites. sony SVE1712ACXB battery

sony SVE1712BCXB batteryThe apartments are usually eight stories high (including the ground floor) mainly because city regulations, until February 2008, required that all buildings higher than 75 feet (23 m) or eight stories install elevators).[3Sony VGN-FW21E Battery

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0] The current code calls for elevators in buildings higher than 62 feet (19 m) or six stories, likely ushering in the era of the six-story apartment building. Although most apartment buildings were built only within the last 20 years, they look much older and rundown due to shoddy construction and lack of proper maintenance. Sony VGN-FW21Z Battery

An apartment building in the downtown section

Unlike other major Asian cities, Yangon does not have any skyscrapers. Aside from a few high-rise hotels and office towers downtown, Sony VGN-FW21M Battery

 

most high-rise buildings (usually 10 stories and up) are “condos” scattered across prosperous neighborhoods north of downtown such as Bahan, Dagon, Kamayut and Mayangon. The tallest building in Yangon, Pyay Gardens, is a 25-story condo in the city’s north. Sony VGN-FW31M Battery

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Older satellite towns such as Thaketa, North Okkalapa and South Okkalapa are lined mostly with one to two story detached houses with access to the city’s electricity grid. Newer satellite towns such as North Dagon and South Dagon are still essentially slums in a grid layout. The satellite towns—old or new—receive little or no municipal services. Sony VGN-FW11ZU Battery

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Broad 100-foot (30-m) wide roads running south to north

Two narrow 30-foot (9.1-m) wide streets running south to north

Mid-size 50-foot (15-m) wide streets running south to north

The east-west grid of downtown Yangon was laid out by British military engineers Fraser and Montgomerie after the Second Anglo-Burmese War.[8Sony VGN-FW21ZR Battery

 

Sony VGN-FW41ZJ/H Battery] The city was later developed by the Public Works Department and Bengal Corps of Engineers. The pattern of south to north roads is as follows: one broad 100-foot (30 m) wide broad road, Sony VGN-FW3ZJ Battery

 

Sony VGN-FW41M/H Battery two narrow streets, one mid-size street, two more narrow streets, and then another 100-foot (30 m) wide broad road. This order is repeated from west to east. The narrow streets are numbered; the medium and broad roads are named.

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For example, the 100-foot (30 m) Lanmadaw Road is followed by 30-foot (9.1 m)-wide 17th and 18th streets then the medium 50-foot (15 m) Sint-Oh-Dan Road, the 30-foot 19th and 20th streets, followed by another 100-foot (30 m) Sony VGN-FW41E/H Battery

wide Latha Road, followed again by the two numbered small roads 21st and 22nd streets, and so on.

The roads running parallel west to east were the Strand Road, Merchant Road, Maha Bandula (née Dalhousie) Road, Anawrahta (Fraser) Road, and Bogyoke Aung San (Montgomerie) Road.

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Sony VGN-NW21EF Battery The largest and best maintained parks in Yangon are located around Shwedagon Pagoda. To the southeast of the gilded stupa is the most popular recreational area in the city – Kandawgyi Lake. The 150-acre (61-ha) Sony VGN-FW51 Battery

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lake is surrounded by the 110-acre (45-ha) Kandawgyi Nature Park,[31] and the 69.25-acre (28-ha) Yangon Zoological Gardens, which consists of a zoo, Sony VGN-FW51MF/H Battery

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an aquarium and an amusement park.[32] West of the pagoda towards the former Hluttaw (Parliament) complex is the 130-acre (53-ha) People’s Square and People’s Park, (the former parading ground on important national days when Yangon was the capital.)[33Sony VGN-FW56E Battery

 

Sony VGN-FW56Z Battery] A few miles north of the pagoda lies the 37-acre (15-ha) Inya Lake Park – a favorite hangout place of Yangon University students, and a well-known place of romance in Burmese popular culture. Sony VGN-FW56J Battery

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International Terminal, Yangon International Airport

Yangon International Airport, located 12 miles (19 km) from downtown, is the country’s main gateway for domestic and international air travel. It has direct flights to regional cities in Asia – mainly, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, Sony VGN-FW31J Battery

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Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Kunming, and Singapore. Although domestic airlines offer service to about 20 domestic locations, most flights are to tourist destinations such as Bagan, Mandalay, Heho and Ngapali, and to the capital, Naypyidaw.

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Sony VGN-FW56ZR BatteryYangon Central Railway Station

Yangon Central Railway Station is the main terminus of Myanmar Railways’ 5,403-kilometre (3,357 mi) rail network[35] whose reach covers Upper Myanmar (Naypyidaw, Mandalay, Shwebo), upcountry (Myitkyina), Shan hills (Taunggyi, Lashio) and the Taninthayi coast (Mawlamyaing, Dawei). Sony VGN-FW11S Battery

 

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Yangon Circular Railway runs a 45.9-kilometre (28.5 mi) 39-station commuter rail network that connects Yangon’s satellite towns. The system is heavily utilized by the local populace, selling about 150,000 tickets daily.[36] The popularity of the commuter line has jumped since the government reduced petrol subsidies in August 2007.[36]

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Buses and cars[edit]

Yangon has a 4,456 kilometres (2,769 mi) road network of all types (tar, concrete and dirt) in March 2011. Many of the roads are in poor condition and not wide enough to accommodate an increasing number of cars.[3Sony VGN-FW11Z Battery

 

Sony VGN-FW46Z Battery7] The vast majority of Yangonites cannot afford a car and rely on an extensive network of buses to get around. Over 300 public and private bus lines operate about 6,300 crowded buses around the city, Sony VGN-FW11ZU Battery

 

Sony VGN-FW46S Batterycarrying over 4.4 million passengers a day.[1][38] All buses and 80% of the taxis in Yangon run on compressed natural gas (CNG), following the 2005 government decree to save money on imported petroleum.[39Sony VGN-FW21SR Battery

Sony VGN-FW21ZR Battery] Highway buses to other cities depart from Dagon Ayeyar Highway Bus Terminal for Irrawaddy delta region and Aung Mingala Highway Bus Terminal for other parts of the country.[40]

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Sony VGN-NW21MF/P BatteryA bus modified for right-hand drive on Yangon roads

Motor transportation in Yangon is highly expensive for most of its citizens. As the government allows only a few thousand cars to be imported each year in a country with over 50 million people,[

 

Sony VGN-NW20SF Battery41] car prices in Yangon (and in Burma) are among the highest in the world. In July 2008, the two most popular cars in Yangon, 1986/87 Nissan Sunny Super Saloon and 1988 Toyota Corolla SE Limited, cost the equivalent of about US$20,000 and US$29,000 respectively.[4

 

Sony VGN-NW26JG Battery2] A sports utility vehicle, imported for the equivalent of around US$50,000, goes for US$250,000.[41] Illegally imported unregistered cars are cheaper – typically about half the price of registered cars. Sony VGN-NW21ZF Battery

 

Sony VGN-NW26EG Battery Nonetheless, car usage in Yangon is on the rise, a sign of rising incomes for some, and already causes much traffic congestion in highway-less Yangon’s streets. In 2011, Yangon had about 300,000 registered motor vehicles in addition to an unknown number of unregistered ones.[37]

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Since 1970, cars have been driven on the right side of the road in Burma, as part of a military decree.[43] However, as the government has not required left hand drive (LHD) cars to accompany the right side road rules, many cars on the road are still right hand drive (RHD) made for driving on the left side. Japanese used cars, Sony VGN-NW31JF Battery

 

Sony VGN-NW24MG Battery which make up most of the country’s imports, still arrive with RHD and are never converted to LHD. As a result, Burmese drivers have to rely on their passengers when passing other cars.

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Within Yangon city limits, it is illegal to drive trishaws, bicycles, and motorcycles. Since February 2010, pickup truck bus lines have been forbidden to run in 6 townships of Downtown Yangon, namely Latha, Sony VGN-NW20EF/P Battery

 

Sony VGN-NW24JG Battery Lanmadaw, Pabedan, Kyauktada, Botahtaung and Pazundaung Townships.[44] In May 2003, a ban on using car horns was implemented in six townships of Downtown Yangon to reduce noise pollution.[45] In April 2004, the car horn ban was expanded to cover the entire city.[45] Sony VGN-NW20EF/S Battery

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River[edit]

Yangon’s four main passenger jetties, all located on or near downtown waterfront, mainly serve local ferries across the river to Dala and Thanlyin, and regional ferries to the Irrawaddy delta.[46] The 22-mile (35 km) Sony VGN-NW11Z/T Battery

 

Sony VGN-NW24EG Battery Twante Canal was the quickest route from Yangon to the Irrawaddy delta until the 1990s when roads between Yangon and the Irrawaddy Division became usable year round. While passenger ferries to the delta are still used, those to Upper Burma via the Irrawaddy river are now limited mostly to tourist river cruises. Sony VGN-NW11Z/S Battery

 

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Yangon is the most populous city by far in Burma although estimates of the size of its population vary widely. (All population figures are estimates since no official census has been conducted in Burma since 1983.) Sony VGN-NW11S/T Battery

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A UN estimate puts the population as 4.35 million in 2010 but a 2009 U.S. State Department estimate puts it at 5.5 million.[2][47] The U.S. State Department’s estimate is probably closer to the real number since the UN number is a straight-line projection, Sony VGN-NW31EF Battery

 

Sony VGN-NW20EF Battery and does not appear to take the expansion of city limits in the past two decades into account. The city’s population grew sharply after 1948 as many people (mainly, the indigenous Burmese) from other parts of the country moved into the newly built satellite towns of North Okkalapa, Sony VGN-NW20ZF Battery

South Okkalapa, and Thaketa in the 1950s and East Dagon, North Dagon and South Dagon in the 1990s. Immigrants have founded their regional associations (such as Mandalay Association, Mawlamyaing Association, etc.) Sony VGN-NW24S Battery

in Yangon for networking purposes. The government’s decision to move the nation’s administrative capital to Naypyidaw has drained an unknown number of civil servants away from Yangon. Sony VGN-NW26M Battery

 

Yangon is the most ethnically diverse city in the country. While Indians formed the slight majority prior to World War II,[9] today, the majority of the population is of Bamar (Burman) descent. Large communities of Indians/South Asians and the Chinese still exist especially in the traditional downtown neighborhoods. Sony VGN-NW31EF Battery

 

Sony VGN-NS20EF/W Battery Intermarriage between ethnic groups—especially between the Bamar and the Chinese, and the Bamar and other indigenous Burmese—is common. A large number of Rakhine and Karen live in the city.

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Burmese is the principal language of the city. English is by far the preferred second language of the educated class. In recent years, however, the prospect of overseas job opportunities has enticed some to study other languages: Mandarin Chinese is most popular, followed by Japanese, French, and Korean.[48] Sony VGN-NS10E/S Battery

 

Central Yangon

Yangon is the country’s hub for the movie, music, advertising, newspaper and book publishing industries. All media is heavily regulated by the military government. Sony VGN-NS10L/S Battery

Television broadcasting is off limits to the private sector. All media content must first be approved by the government’s media censor board, Press Scrutiny and Registration Division.[49]

 

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Most television channels in the country are broadcast from Yangon. TV Myanmar and Myawaddy TV are the two main channels, providing Burmese-language programming in news and entertainment. Other special interest channels are MWD-1 and MWD-2, Sony VGN-NS11J/S Battery

 

Sony VGN-NS20EF/P BatteryMRTV-3, the English-language channel that targets overseas audiences via satellite and via Internet, MRTV-4 and Channel 7[disambiguation needed] are with a focus on non-formal education programs and movies, and Movie 5, a pay-TV channel specializing in broadcasting foreign movies.[50]

 

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Yangon has three radio stations. Myanmar Radio National Service is the national radio service and broadcasts mostly in Burmese (and in English during specific times.) Sony VGN-NS20E/P Battery

 

Sony VGN-NS30E/S Battery Pop culture oriented Yangon City FM and Mandalay City FM radio stations specialize in Burmese and English pop music, entertainment programs, live celebrity interviews, etc. New radio channels such as Shwe FM and Pyinsawaddy FM can also be tuned with the city area. Sony VGN-NS20J/P Battery

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Nearly all print media and industries are based out of Yangon. All three national newspapers – two Burmese language dailies Myanma Alin (မြန်မာ့အလင်း) and Kyemon (ကြေးမုံ), and the English language The New Light of Myanmar —Sony VGN-SR19VN Battery

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are published by the government. Semi-governmental The Myanmar Times weekly, published in Burmese and in English, is mainly geared for Yangon’s expatriate community. Over twenty special interest journals and magazines covering sports, fashion, finance, crime, literature (but never politics) vie for the readership of the general populace.

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Access to foreign media is extremely difficult. Satellite television in Yangon (and in Burma) is highly expensive as the government imposes an annual registration fee of one million kyats.[49] Certain foreign newspapers and periodicals such as the International Herald Tribune and the Straits Sony VGN-SR21RM/H Battery

 

Sony VGN-SR59XG/H Battery Times can be found only in a few (mostly downtown) bookstores. Internet access in Yangon, which has the best telecommunication infrastructure in the country, is slow and erratic at best, and the Burmese government implements one of the world’s most restrictive regimes of Internet control.[ Sony VGN-SR29VN Battery

 

Sony VGN-SR59VG/H Battery51] International text messaging and voice messaging was permitted only in August 2008.[52]

 

Communication[edit]

Common facilities taken for granted elsewhere are luxury prized items in Yangon (and Burma). The price of a GSM mobile phone was about K1.1 million in August 2008.[52] In 2007, the country of 55 million had only 775,000 phone lines (including 275,000 mobile phones),[53][54] and 400,000 computers.[53

 

Sony VGN-SR59TH/H Battery] Even in Yangon, which has the best infrastructure, the estimated telephone penetration rate was only 6% at the end of 2004, and the official waiting time for a telephone line was 3.6 years.[5Sony VGN-SR31M Battery

 

Sony VGN-SR57X Battery5] Most people cannot afford a computer and have to use the city’s numerous Internet cafes to access a heavily restricted Internet, and a heavily censored local intranet.[51] According to official statistics, in July 2010, the country had over 400,000 Internet users, with the vast majority hailing from just two cities, Sony VGN-SR41M/P Battery

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Sony VGN-SR57V BatteryYangon and Mandalay. Although Internet access was available in 42 cities across the country, the number of users outside the two main cities was just over 10,000.[56]

 

Lifestyle[edit]

 

 

The Karaweik at night time, at Kandawgyi Lake, which is one of a few major recreational parks in Yangon.

Yangon’s property market is the most expensive in the country and beyond the reach of most Yangonites. Most rent outside downtown and few can afford to rent downtown area apartments. (In 2008, rents for a typical 650-to-750-square-foot (60 to 70 m2) apartments in downtown and vicinity range between K70,000 and K150,000 and those for high end condos between K200,000 and K500,000.)[57] Sony VGN-SR41M/W Battery

 

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Most men of all ages (and some women) spend their time at ubiquitous tea-shops, found in any corner or street of the city. Watching European football (mostly English Premier League with occasional La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga) Sony VGN-SR51MF/P Battery

 

Sony VGN-SR45H/P Battery matches while sipping tea is a popular pastime among many Yangonites, rich and poor alike. The average person stays close to his or her neighbourhood haunts. The well-to-do tend to visit shopping malls and parks on weekends. Some leave the city on weekends for Chaungtha and Ngwesaung beach resorts in Ayeyarwady Division.

 

Sony VGN-SR45H/N BatteryHindu temple procession cart

Yangon is also home to many pagoda festivals (paya pwe), held during dry-season months (November – March). The most famous of all, the Shwedagon Pagoda Festival in March, attracts thousands of pilgrims from around the country.

 

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Yangon’s museums are the domain of tourists and rarely visited by the locals.

 

Most of Yangon’s larger hotels offer some kind of nightlife entertainment, geared towards tourists and the well-to-do Burmese. Some hotels offer traditional Burmese performing arts shows complete with a traditional Burmese orchestra. Sony VGN-SR51MF/W Battery

 

Sony VGN-SR51B Battery The pub scene in larger hotels is more or less the same as elsewhere in Asia. Other options include karaoke bars and pub restaurants in Yangon Chinatown.

 

Due to the problems of high inflation, the lack of high denomination notes, and the fact that many of the population do not have access to checks, or credit or debit cards, it is common to see citizens carrying a considerable amount of cash.[5Sony VGN-SR39VN/S Battery

 

Sony VGN-SR51B/S Battery8] (The highest denomination of Burmese currency kyat is 5000 (~US$5.)) Credit cards are only rarely used in the city, chiefly in the more lavish hotels.

 

Sports[edit]

As the city has the best sporting facilities in the country, most national-level annual sporting tournaments such as track and field, football, volleyball, tennis and swimming are held in Yangon. The 40,000-seat Aung San Stadium and the 32,000-seat Thuwunna Stadium are the main venues for the highly popular annual State and Division football tournament. Sony VGN-SR39XN/S Battery

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Sony VGN-SR51B/P Battery Until April 2009, the now defunct Myanmar Premier League, consisted of 16 Yangon-based clubs,[59] played all its matches in Yangon stadiums, and attracted little interest from the general public or commercial success despite the enormous popularity of football in Burma. Sony VGN-SR29XN/S Battery

Most Yangonites prefer watching European football on satellite TV. It remains to be seen whether the Myanmar National League, the country’s first professional football league, and its Yangon-based club Yangon United FC will attract a sufficient following in the country’s most important media market. Sony VGN-SR31M/S Battery

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Yangon is also home to annual the Myanmar Open golf tournament, and the Myanmar Open tennis tournament. The city hosted the 1961 and 1969 South East Asian Games. During colonial times, cricket was played mostly by British officials in the city. Sony VGN-NR31E/S Battery

 

Sony VGN-NR21S/T Battery First-class cricket was played in the city in January 1927 when the touring Marylebone Cricket Club played Burma and the Rangoon Gymkhana. Two grounds were used to host these matches, the BAA Ground and the Gymkhana Ground.[6Sony VGN-NR31ER/S Battery

 

Sony VGN-NR21S/S Battery0][61] These matches mark the only time Burma and Rangoon Gymkhana have appeared in first-class cricket, and the only time first-class cricket has been played in Burma. After independence cricket all but died out in the country.

A street market in Downtown Yangon selling produce. Sony VGN-NR31J/S Battery

 

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Yangon is the country’s main center for trade, industry, real estate, media, entertainment and tourism. The city alone represents about one fifth of the national economy. According to official statistics for FY 2010–2011, the size of the economy of Yangon Region was 8.93 trillion kyats, or 23% of the national GDP.[62]

 

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The city is Lower Burma’s main trading hub for all kinds of merchandise – from basic food stuffs to used cars although commerce continues to be hampered by the city’s severely underdeveloped banking industry and communication infrastructure. Sony VGN-NR31MR/S Battery

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Bayinnaung Market is the largest wholesale centre in the country for rice, beans and pulses, and other agricultural commodities.[63] Much of the country’s legal imports and exports go through Thilawa Port, the largest and busiest port in Burma. Sony VGN-NR31SR/S Battery

Sony VGN-NR31Z/S Battery

 

Sony VGN-NR11Z/T BatteryThere is also a great deal of informal trade, especially in street markets that exist alongside street platforms of Downtown Yangon’s townships. However, on 17 June 2011, the YCDC announced that street vendors, who had previously been allowed to legally open shop at 3 pm, would be prohibited from selling on the streets, Sony VGN-NR31Z/T Battery

 

Sony VGN-NR11Z/S Batteryand permitted to sell only in their townships of residence, presumably to clean up the city’s image.[64] Since 1 December 2009, high-density polyethylene plastic bags have been banned by city authorities.[65] Sony VGN-NR31ZR/S Battery

 

 

Manufacturing accounts for a sizable share of employment. At least 14 light industrial zones ring Yangon,[66] directly employing over 150,000 workers in 4,300 factories in early 2010.[ Sony VGN-NR38E/S Battery

67] The city is the centre of country’s garment industry which exported US$292 million in 2008/9 fiscal year. More than 80 percent of factory workers in Yangon work on a day-to-day basis. Most are young women between 15 and 27 years of age who come from the countryside in search of a better life.[

 

Sony VGN-NR11S/S Battery68] The manufacturing sector suffers from both structural problems (e.g. chronic power shortages) and political problems (e.g. economic sanctions). In 2008, Yangon’s 2500 factories alone needed about 120 MW of power;[69] Sony VGN-NR38M/S Battery

 

Sony VGN-NR11M/S Battery yet, the entire city received only about 250 MW of the 530 MW needed.[70] Chronic power shortages limit the factories’ operating hours between 8 am and 6 pm.[71] Sony VGN-NR38S/S Battery

 

 

Construction is a major source of employment. The construction industry has been negatively affected by the move of state apparatus and civil servants to Naypyidaw,[7Sony VGN-NR38Z/S Battery

Sony VGN-NR38Z/T Battery2] new regulations introduced in August 2009 requiring builders to provide at least 12 parking spaces in every new high-rise building, and the general poor business climate. As of January 2010, the number of new high-rise building starts approved in 2009–2010 was only 334, compared to 582 in 2008–2009.[73]

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Tourism represents a major source of foreign currency for the city although by Southeast Asian standards the actual number of foreign visitors to Yangon has always been quite low—about 250,000 before the Saffron Revolution in September 2007. The number of visitors dipped even further following the Saffron Revolution and Cyclone Nargis.[74] Sony VGN-AR71S Battery

 

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The recent improvement in the country’s political climate has attracted an increasing number of businessmen and tourists. Between 300,000 to 400,000 visitors that went through Yangon International in 2011. However, Sony VGN-AR71SR Battery

 

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Sony VGN-AR61MR Battery after years of underinvestment, Yangon’s modest hotel infrastructure—only 3000 of the total 8000 hotel rooms in Yangon are “suitable for tourists”—is already bursting at seams, and will need to be expanded to handle additional visitors.[75] As part of an urban development strategy, a hotel zone has been planned in Yangon’s outskirts, encompassing government- and military-owned land in Mingaladon, Hlegu and Htaukkyant Townships.[76] Sony VGN-AR71ZRU Battery

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Education[edit]

 

See also: List of universities and colleges in Yangon

 

 

University of Medicine 1

Yangon has the best educational facilities and the highest number of qualified teachers in Burma where state spending on education is among the lowest in the world.[7Sony VGN-CR11SR Battery

 

Sony VGN-AR51SRU Battery7] A 2007 estimate by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies puts the spending for education at 0.5 percent of the national budget.[78] The disparity in educational opportunities and achievement between rich and poor schools is quite stark even within the city. Sony VGN-CR11Z Battery

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Sony VGN-AR51MR BatteryWith little or no state support forthcoming, schools have to rely on forced “donations” and various fees from parents for nearly everything – school maintenance to teachers’ salaries,[79] forcing many poor students to drop out.

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While many students in poor districts fail to reach high school, a handful of Yangon high schools in wealthier districts like Dagon 1, Sanchaung 2, Kamayut 2, Bahan 2, Latha 2, and TTC provide the majority of students admitted to the most selective universities in the country, highlighting the extreme shallowness of talent pool in the country.[8Sony VGN-CR19XN Battery

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Sony VGN-AR71L Battery0] The wealthy bypass the state education system altogether, sending their children to private English language instruction schools such as YIEC, Sony VGN-AR71E Battery

Sony VGN-AR71J Batteryor abroad (typically Singapore or Australia) for university education.[81] In 2008, international schools in Yangon cost at least US$8,000 a year.[82]

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Yangon is home to over 20 universities and colleges. While Yangon University remains the best known (its main campus is a part of popular Burmese culture e.g. literature, music, film, etc.), the nation’s oldest university is now mostly a graduate school, Sony PCG-81212M battery

 

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deprived of undergraduate studies. Following the 1988 nationwide uprising, the military government has repeatedly shut down universities, and has dispersed most of undergraduate student population to new universities in the suburbs such as Dagon University, the University of East Yangon and the University of West Yangon. Sony PCG-81213M battery

 

Sony PCG-81411M batteryNonetheless many of the country’s most selective universities are still in Yangon. Students from around the country still have to come to study in Yangon as some subjects are offered only at its universities. The University of Medicine 1, Sony PCG-81311M battery

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Sony PCG-81313M battery University of Medicine 2, Yangon Technological University, University of Computer Studies and Myanmar Maritime University are the most selective in the country.[83]

Yangon General Hospital Sony PCG-81113M battery

 

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The general state of health care in Yangon is poor. According to a 2007 estimate, the military government spends 0.4% of the national budget on health care, and 40% to 60% on defense.[78] By the government’s own figures, it spends 849 kyats (US$0.85) Sony PCG-81212M battery

per person.[84] Although health care is nominally free, in reality, patients have to pay for medicine and treatment, even in public clinics and hospitals. Public hospitals including the flagship Yangon General Hospital lack many of the basic facilities and equipment.

 

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Wealthier Yangonites still have access to country’s best medical facilities and internationally qualified doctors. Only do Yangon and Mandalay have any sizable number of doctors left as many Burmese doctors have emigrated. The well-to-do go to private clinics or hospitals like Pun Hlaing International Hospital and Bahosi Medical Clinic.[citation needed] Still, medical malpractice is widespread even in private clinics and hospitals that serve the well-to-do. In 2009 and 2010, a spate of high profile deaths[84] brought out the severity of the problem, even for the relatively well off Yangonites. The wealthy do not rely on domestic hospitals and travel abroad (usually Bangkok or Singapore) for treatment.[85]